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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.

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