There are a few professions where you pretty much assume the highest level of sanitation regulations will be followed. Chefs, servers, butchers, even a fast food attendant, you expect them all to be washing their hands on the regular, or at least you hope they do.
When it comes to doctors, nurses, and health care professionals, you don't even question their sanitation practices. In a hospital, you inherently understand that everyone is constantly washing their hands and ensuring germs aren't spread.
Unfortunately, in Montreal, that isn't quite the case.
CBC's Enquête delved into the regularity of handwashing in hospitals across Quebec, investigating how often a health care professional will wash their hands before they see a patient, and after.
The results are pretty worrying. A hospital's employees should be washing their hands before and after seeing a patient at a rate of 80%, and only a handful of hospitals in Quebec actually met that requirement.
Don't assume that Montreal's hospitals are doing much better than others in the province. None of the city's hospitals were found to be washing their hands at the minimum 80% rate before seeing a patient, or after. Kind of worrying.
Below you'll find a listing of all of the Montreal hospitals investigated within the CBC study. All the figures below showcase the rate at which health care professionals in Montreal washed their hands before seeing a patient. To see how the hospitals stack up when it comes to washing their hands after handling a patient, check out the full study:
Montreal General Hospital: 77% (average attained from previous survey)
Jewish General Hospital: 29%
Hôpital de LaSalle: 60.4%
Hôpital de Verdun: 37%
Hôpital Catherine Booth: 30.2%
Hôpital Richardson: 19%
Montreal Children's Hospital: 59.2%
St. Mary's Hospital: 44%
Centre hospitalier universitaire Sainte-Justine: 49%
Institut de réadaptation Gingras-Lindsay-de-Montréal: 8.2%
Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital: 73.4% (average attained from previous survey)
Hôpital Saint-Luc: 33%
Hôpital de réadaptation Villa Medica: 43%
Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal: 27%
Hôpital Notre Dame: 32%
Hôpital Jean-Talon: 66%
Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal: 49.7%
Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont: 23%
Institut de Cardiologie de Montréal: 66%
Hôpital Santa Cabrini: 33%
Hôpital Fleury: 61%
Hôpital Marie-Clarac: 68%
Lakeshore General Hospital: 49.8%
Institut de Réadaptation Gingras-Lindsay de Montréal: 8.2%
Lachine Hospital: No data available
For a more in-depth analysis, delve into CBC Enquête's report here.
The Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Saint-Justine just released safety guidelines for children and their parents looking to go sledding this winter — in particular, choosing sledding locations carefully, always sledding with adult supervision and always wearing a helmet.
Sledding activities have become more popular since the beginning of the pandemic, as kids and teens are looking for more opportunities to get out of the house and have some fun. With this increased time outdoors, there's an increased risk of injury, as the CHU Sainte-Justine has seen.
"Since December 1, 2021, the hospital center has admitted no fewer than 35 children and teenagers injured during sledding activities," the CHU Sainte-Justine said in a recent release. "Last January, the CHU Sainte-Justine had already treated 45 injured children, a considerable increase compared to the years prior to the pandemic."
And the injuries they're treating aren't just your typical bumps and bruises. The hospital cited treating kids and teens for concussions, cerebral hemorrhages, broken arms, legs and pelvises, and injuries to internal organs requiring emergency surgery.
The first tip the CHU Sainte-Justine offered was to choose your sledding location carefully. The ideal spot has no obstacles, is far from roads or bodies of water, and has a clear delineation between where you sled and where you walk back up the hill. They recommend avoiding icy or overly speedy slopes.
"Collisions with trees or poles, falls on ice and skidding are among the main accidents during sliding games," said the CHU Sainte-Justine in their release. "In fact, among the children admitted to the emergency room this winter, 46% of the injuries were caused by collisions with obstacles."
Next, they recommend wearing a helmet and always tobogganing in a seated position, feet-first, to avoid injury. Kids should always be supervised and children aged five and under should be accompanied by an adult when they go down the hill.
"With fewer pastimes available during lockdown, many children are turning to board sports," said Dr. Mélanie Labrosse, emergency pediatrician and head of traumatology the CHU Sainte-Justine. "It's a fun activity, but you have to be extra careful because it can cause injuries with long-term repercussions.'
On Wednesday Health Minister Christian Dubé shared a breakdown by Quebec region of the number of health and social service workers who aren't fully vaccinated.
While the province had initially set an October 15 deadline for these workers to get their two COVID-19 vaccine doses or face suspension, the health ministry ended up postponing it by 30 days on October 13, citing the need to ensure continuity of service.
Ce tableau représente la fragilité de notre réseau de la santé. Déjà, avant la vaccination obligatoire, nous sommes… https://t.co/g7kXH6eiNG
The breakdown of not-fully-vaccinated workers by region shows the scale of the problem.
As of October 11, Montreal unsurprisingly led the pack with 8,759 health and social service workers who had received either no doses or just one dose of a vaccine. Montérégie followed the metropolis, with 2,183 workers who weren't fully vaccinated as of the same date.
In total, 22,446 such workers in the province were not fully vaccinated
"This chart represents the fragility of our health care system," Dubé wrote on Twitter.
"Already, before the mandatory vaccination, we are experiencing a labour shortage. On October 15, with 22,446 fewer people, this would have had enormous consequences on the health services offered to Quebecers."
The report recommended that Quebec acknowledge systemic racism. It also said racism and prejudice played a role in Echaquan's death.
"The only place where I don't agree is when we say that there's a 'system' because for me a 'system' is coming from upstairs, coming from the top people, and I don't see this in the health care network, for example," Legault said at a press conference on Tuesday, following the release of the coroner's report.
"What happened to Mrs. Echaquan is terrible [...] and few employees, not only one, didn't deliver the right services to her."
He reiterated that people who believe in systemic racism in Quebec don't have the same definition that he does.
"We don't have a system [of racism], top to bottom, and it's a question of fact," he said.
He emphasized the need to "stop dividing Quebecers" with arguments about systemic racism.
"Even [the coroner who wrote the report] Mrs. Kahmel, she's saying that we have not to put all the emphasis only on words. We have to put emphasis on actions to change the situation and, on that, I fully agree," said Legault.
As officials figure out what to do with much of the former hospital campus (some buildings will become part of McGill University), non-profit groups Héritage Montréal and Les amis de la montagne say the site presents an opportunity to reconnect the downtown core with the mountain and expand the public realm.
Pour une requalification exemplaire de l'ancien hôpital Royal Victoria
The groups released a video in September calling for "visionary," "courageous," and "bold" planning for the site, including new public green and gathering spaces.
Under their proposal, the groups say the old Royal Victoria Hospital would become a "gateway to Mount Royal park from downtown [...] connected, open to all, and equipped with a reception area, local services, meeting places and community spaces."
Héritage Montréal and Les amis de la montage specifically call for:
"the urgent restoration of the buildings in order to avoid any further deterioration due to the vacancy of the place;
"landscaping and greening actions that allow better access to the mountain as an extension of Mount Royal park towards downtown;
"the maintenance of public ownership of the land in order to avoid the fragmentation of the site and to ensure its coherence in the short, medium and long term, in a context of multiple occupants;"
and the implementation of modern urban planning, governance and financing tools to preserve the integrity of the site, its heritage character and its civic and community vocation."