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Ottawa hospital accused of giving Karlsson preferential treatment

Mar 11, 2013, 3:00 PM EDT

Karlsson hurt

A man that brought his ailing mother to The Ottawa Hospital says Erik Karlsson jumped the queue to have surgery on his sliced Achilles tendon.

Vincent Creaco, 48, is accusing the hospital of showing preferential treatment to the Senators defenseman at the expense of other emergency patients — including his 76-year-old mother, who’s systolic blood pressure had spiked to 200, raising concerns of a possible stroke.

Creaco says he and his mother had been at the hospital’s Civic campus since 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 13 and that Karlsson was admitted shortly after midnight, went directly into an urgent care room and was attended to by nurses.

“Even the other people in the [urgent care] room were sort of rolling their eyes,” Creaco told the Ottawa Citizen. “Here comes the hockey star and next thing you know, he gets the attention and doesn’t have to wait and, boom, he’s off to surgery.”

Creaco sent two emails to the hospital’s senior vice-present inquiring about the decision-making process.

It appears the crux of the issue comes down to this:

Like all Canadian hospitals, The Ottawa Hospital follows Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS) guidelines to determine who gets priority for emergency treatment. The scale ranks patients according to five levels, ranging from non-urgent to resuscitation.

Based on the CTAS guidelines, Karlsson’s injury would appear to be more serious than Creaco’s mother’s elevated blood pressure.

Creaco, though, doesn’t see it that way. “I think my mother’s case was more urgent. She could have suffered a stroke. You can’t tell me his Achilles tendon is urgent.”

A Ministry of Health spokesman said a report has been filed regarding the Karlsson incident, but that it would be treated strictly as information and there would be no follow-up investigation.

Brian Morris, a Senators spokesman, said the nature of Karlsson’s injury required immediate attention.

“This was something they needed to do right away. Had any patient had the exact same cut, they would have needed surgery equally fast,” he explained. “They didn’t even take up any hospital resources. They were very cognizant about not doing that.

“It wasn’t like they bumped people from a room to treat Erik.”

This isn’t the first time an NHL team has found itself in the center of a medical queue-jumping controversy.

In January, a report surfaced that Calgary Flames players and their families were directed to lie to cover up getting fast-tracked for H1N1 flut shots in 2009.

A Calgary health nurse said 150 players/family members received the shots at a private clinic while other citizens went through lengthy wait periods to receive the same shots at a public clinic.

  1. chicagobtech - Mar 11, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    Sounds like a case of a famous person needing urgent care versus a guy’s mother needing moderate care. Sorry dude, you may love your mother but if the hospital followed established guidelines then you’re out of luck.

    • jpelle82 - Mar 11, 2013 at 7:20 PM

      i’d be willing to bet momma was on govt healthcare and karlsson was not

      • chicagobtech - Mar 11, 2013 at 10:03 PM

        I’ve never heard that one from Canada, only England. The stories I’ve heard from Canadians and medical usually ends up as some flavor of waiting a long time for tests or crossing the border with a voucher and hit up an American clinic.

  2. Stiller43 - Mar 11, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    I actually side with the hospital on this one. Sounds like his mother was in a hightened state of worry, but nothing was too wrong at that point. Then someone comes in who has a huge slice in their leg which also cut 70% of their achilles…i think thats the more urgent case at that point.

  3. xflyersx - Mar 11, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    He’s clearly not a Sens fan!

  4. phillyphannn83 - Mar 11, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    I’m a firefighter/EMT and a sliced Achilles, while not dire by any stretch, is still more urgent than elevated blood pressure, which is extremely common in the elderly, especially if there is a family history of it. Sorry pal, coulda, shoulda, woulda, doesn’t rule the ER.

  5. withseidelinn - Mar 11, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    “You can’t tell me his achilles tendon isn’t urgent”. This is a case of someone just showcasing their stupidity.

  6. thecheeman - Mar 11, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    Doctor Nick Riviera of the Ottawa Medical Review Board will surely have the final say in this exquisitely Canadian caper.

    • digbysellers - Mar 11, 2013 at 4:02 PM

      Hi everybody!

      • esracerx46 - Mar 11, 2013 at 5:19 PM

        Hi Doctor Nick!

    • Simon - Mar 11, 2013 at 4:08 PM

      Did you go to the Hollywood Upstairs Medical College too?

      • mj2sexay - Mar 11, 2013 at 6:47 PM

        Call 1-800-DOCTORB

        The B is for bargain!

      • r8rbhawk - Mar 11, 2013 at 8:15 PM

        Why, if it isn’t my old friend, Mr. McGreg. With a leg for an arm and an arm for a leg.

  7. sportsfreak13 - Mar 11, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Was the man who brought his ailing mother in for attention last name cooke? Jokes aside i dont think this guy has any claim here and this should be a non story.

  8. jaredphi - Mar 11, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    I feel bad for the guy and his moms….but I concur with the other comments (so far) in this thread.

    Deferring to this board’s EMT/firefighter, who would definitely be the one to consult for a ruling on this issue.

    Thanks for sharing your medical expertise, phillyphann83.

  9. r8rbhawk - Mar 11, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    Not one comment criticizing socialized medicine? Either this truly is a hockey site or the trolls have taken the day off.

    • 19to77 - Mar 11, 2013 at 6:26 PM

      Tim Thomas, get in here, we need you for something.

    • jaredphi - Mar 12, 2013 at 10:20 AM

      For my part, I can’t criticize something that’s far superior to the medical system we have here in America.

      We should’ve passed a Single Payer healthcare bill instead of Obamacare.

      The issue is rather simple:

      – You can pay a little more in taxes out of each paycheck (and have ALL the risk taken out of the equation if you get cancer, a heart attack or another expensive healthcare problem. These medical issues are at least HALF MILLION DOLLAR bills (or $1 million or more) and insurance won’t cover the majority of their costs.


      – You can pay the same taxes you pay now, keep the American system and risk getting an expensive medical problem, whereupon if you are working or middle class, you will find yourself BANKRUPT without two nickels to rub together (and likely incapable of paying for your treatment all the way through to returning to good health)

      For those that think all this unregulated, shoot-for-the-moon capitalism is a good thing in the US medical system, please read the special issue of TIME magazine from a couple of weeks ago (it has a white pill on the cover) on our out-of-control, ever-spiraling healthcare costs here in the states. Real eye opener!

  10. modellforprez - Mar 11, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    Cookie should have clipped both of his tendons. hope he never recovers.

  11. habsman - Mar 11, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    Dr. Recchi could have fixed the tendon, looked after this guys mother, and delivered a baby…all at the same time.

    What a guy.

  12. thehighcountrybear - Mar 11, 2013 at 8:10 PM

    If Karlsson’s injury was so critical, why did it take until after midnight to get him to hospital…? How many other people were in the queue, and how critical were their injuries…it’s evident the ER was backed up? I think the concern is genuine if Karlsson simply arrived, and was whisked-off to surgery before people who’d been waiting for hours for some semblance of care…

    • chanceoffleury1 - Mar 11, 2013 at 9:34 PM

      Um, probably because the game was at 7pm in Pittsburgh. It’s around a 2 hour flight from Pittsburgh to Ottawa. C’mon, countrybear, keep up. Injury probably happened around 8:30-ish (end of 2nd period), they evaluate him and determine he needs to head home for emergency surgery. Get him on a plane by 9:30pm. 2 hour flight lands him at around 11:30pm. Then a half hour to get him to the hospital for surgery around midnight. Timeline seems a-okay to me.

  13. 950003cups - Mar 11, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    How did this become a story?

  14. rpiotr01 - Mar 11, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    Man who cares. Karlsson needs his knees more than some normal lady does.

  15. chanceoffleury1 - Mar 11, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    If he had been there since 7:30 and it was now midnight I can PROMISE you that his mother’s blood pressure was not actually at 200. I’m a nurse and if they were sending Erik Karlsson to this emergency room than it was obviously one that knew what they were doing. They would have admitted her after taking her vitals if it was that high. That being said, a flesh laceration on a major joint is a level 2 injury at my hospital. That is one step below injuries like emergency amputation. I’m gonna take a shot in the dark here and say his mother ended up just fine.

    You think Lebron James and Tom Brady are gonna sit and wait in the general admission emergency room when they blow a knee ( or get a cramp in Lebron’s case)? You live in Canada, bro. If you don’t want reigning Norris Trophy winners to get treatment over your hypochondriac mother than move to the Congo or something. It’s just the world we live in. You don’t have to like it, but something tells me Erik Karlsson and the Senators don’t really care.

  16. thehighcountrybear - Mar 11, 2013 at 10:14 PM

    Um, they don’t have hospitals in Pittsburgh…? If the injury warranted immediate care bypassing everyone else in ER, it should have been attended in Pittsburgh where they have some of the finest hospitals in the world. Putting Karlsson through travel including processing through customs and immigration tells me the injury was either non critical or Senators management had already manipulated the Ottawa hospital before ever leaving Pittsburgh. The fact of the matter is, professional teams presume right to preferential treatment and always have. The problem of privileged access to healthcare is so bad in Alberta, a highly damning public inquiry is underway, and has been extended in time and mandate simply to deal with the sheer volume of complaints [ guess who have been fingered for abuse of privilege ]?

  17. thehighcountrybear - Mar 11, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    chanceoffleury1: I care diddly squat if Karlsson is a Norris winner or if he can walk on water. In Canada, public healthcare is equally accessible to all, and not determined by ability to play an insipid and inherently violent kid’s game. If the Senators were not the penny-pinching farce they are [ look at the players they’ve let slip away ], they’d have ensured access to first class private health care for their players. Ottawa’s the pork-barrel freeloading hyper sponge capital of Canada…why would the Senators not presume right to the same privilege. Get me a kidney pan nurse, I need to vomit…

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