Record number of children visiting Hamilton hospital resulting in longer wait times

A record number of children have been visiting the emergency room at a Hamilton hospital in the past week, resulting in longer than normal wait times.

McMaster Children’s Hospital says a record 230-plus children came to its emergency department on May 16 alone, and pediatric visits have been averaging at about 190 a day in the past week.

“We are seeing multiple different viruses circulating in the community at the same time right now, some causing very high fevers,” Dr. Christopher Sulowski, chief of the pediatric emergency department at MCH, said in a news release on Friday. “These high fevers don’t always necessitate a trip to the emergency department. Instead, keep kids hydrated and comfortable with medications.”

The hospital is asking parents and guardians to consider their care options, including urgent care, before bringing their children to the emergency room.

They say many respiratory illnesses can be managed at home with fluids and something to reduce or stop a fever.

The hospital warns that families who do visit the hospital in the coming days may face long wait times.

“As a reminder, children are prioritized to be seen based on the severity of their condition. We’re asking for patience as our teams do their best to care for all patients and their families,” said the release.

The hospital reminds parents and guardians to call 911 right away if their child is experiencing a medical emergency.

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