Patient overcrowding in the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre’s emergency room reached crisis levels last week, and administration is trying to figure out what to do.

Health Minister Karen Casey met with Chris Power, CEO of the Capital District Health Authority, on Friday.

Earlier last week, the director of the ER at the QEII pulled a code orange, which is normally used for a disaster like a plane crash.


The alarm marked the first time a code orange was used to deal with an internal problem of too many patients in the ER.

Peter Graham, spokes­man for Capital District Health Authority, said Power promised to give Casey daily reports on bed capacity and patient levels.

“One of the things that came out of the discussion was what are the protocols that are available to all staff to access additional resources and support before we get to a crisis level like a code orange.”

January and February are typically the busiest months for ERs, with so many cases of slip-and-falls, pneumonia and the flu.

Graham said in an interview yesterday said they were already working on new overcrowding procedures when the code orange was activated on Tuesday.

A new policy directing other units in the hospital to help out will be available on Feb. 1.

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