Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
February 14, 2023 ·  3 min read

Woman Dies After 7-Hour Wait in Emergency Room: ‘The System Is Obviously Broken’

You expect when you go to the hospital, you will receive timely care and have your problem diagnosed and treated. Sadly, many healthcare systems around the world are severely stressed and this doesn’t always happen. Tragically, a Canadian woman died after waiting seven hours in an emergency room Her family is now demanding answers.

A Canadian Woman Dies After Waiting for 7 Hours In Hospital ER

Allison Holthoff, a 37-year-old from Nova Scotia, had an upset stomach on Dec. 31 and went to the emergency room the following morning when the sickness worsened. Her husband says that her stomach hurt her so badly that she could barely sit up straight. Though the hospital triaged her relatively quickly, after that she just sat there and waited for hours to actually be seen by a doctor. (1)

“I told the nurses and the lady at the desk there a couple of times, ‘It is getting worse,’ and nothing happened,” said her husband Gunter. “So the security guards, in time, they brought a couple blankets out and they brought us a cup of water and I used it to put some ice on her lips.” (2)

I Think I’m Dying

Allison was so much pain that she had to lie on the floor while waiting. After six hours of waiting, Gunter says they finally brought her into a private room. That room, however, didn’t have any medical equipment in it. He recalls her saying that she felt like she was dying and begging him not to let her die there. 

“At some point there, she was getting worse and she started to scream out in pain,” he said.

A doctor finally came in and gave her some medication for the pain. Nurses checked her blood pressure and found it to be extremely low. Despite all of this, however, they still received no test results.

Finally, they began prepping her for an x-ray. During this prep, she got worse to the point when she could barely breathe. Suddenly, her eyes rolled to the back of her head, and she went into what the nurses called a code blue. They removed Gunter from the room while they tried to resuscitate Allison. Sadly, Allison passed away seven hours after they first arrived at the hospital.

A Family Demanding Answers

The family has hired a lawyer to investigate what happened during the seven hours she waited in the ER. They don’t understand why it took so long for her to be seen by a doctor. The family is still waiting on the autopsy, however, they are demanding answers from the hospital.

“We need change, the system is obviously broken. Or if it’s not broken yet, it’s not too far off,” he said. “Something needs to improve. I don’t want anybody else to go through this.”

He says he doesn’t blame the staff, but rather the system. He and the rest of the family are demanding change. They say that if something doesn’t change, more people will die unnecessarily. Our hearts go out to Gunter, his children, and the rest of Allison’s friends and family in this difficult time.

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  1. Canadian Woman Dies After 7-Hour Wait in Emergency Room: ‘The System Is Obviously Broken’.” People. Vanessa Etienne. January 10, 2023.
  2. ‘The system is obviously broken,’ says N.S. man whose wife died in ER.” CBC. Nicola Seguin . January 9, 2023.