Mice in the hospital are a 'black eye,' say the PCs — but health minister says they're a sign of spring

·2 min read
CBC News has received reports of rodent problems at the Health Sciences Centre in St. John's. (Left and centre: Submitted photos, name withheld by CBC. Right: Preston Pardy/Facebook - image credit)
CBC News has received reports of rodent problems at the Health Sciences Centre in St. John's. (Left and centre: Submitted photos, name withheld by CBC. Right: Preston Pardy/Facebook - image credit)
Left and centre: Submitted photos, name withheld by CBC. Right: Preston Pardy/Facebook
Left and centre: Submitted photos, name withheld by CBC. Right: Preston Pardy/Facebook

Newfoundland and Labrador's health minister says rodents at a St. John's hospital are a sign of the season.

Asked about a video circulating on social media of a rodent running into a cupboard at the Health Sciences Centre, Health Minister John Haggie said Eastern Health has pest control measures but rodents are spotted more often when the weather warms up.

"We certainly have an active pest control program through each of the regional health authorities. I think this is simply the time of the year when you see it," Haggie told reporters Monday.

CBC News has received other photos of dead rodents at the Health Sciences Centre in addition to the video. Preston Pardy of Grand Falls-Windsor, who posted the video, also posted photos of traps and rodent droppings.

WATCH: Rodent at the Health Sciences Centre in St. John's

Haggie said mice are "regular visitors" to the Health and Community Services office in Confederation Building too.

CBC News has asked Eastern Health for comment.

Progressive Conservative MHA Chris Tibbs called the rodents at the Health Sciences Centre "a black eye" for the provincial government.

"These are supposed to be the most sanitary conditions in our province. How are we supposed to take care of patients with mice running across the floor?" asked Tibbs.

Tibbs speculated that the new mental health hospital may have driven more rodents to the Health Sciences Centre, and said rodents are a "huge problem" in the Newfoundland and Labrador health-care system.

Health minister won't say if cardiac care in crisis

Pardy was in the hospital for cardiac surgery but said he was sent to Ottawa after having surgeries cancelled twice. Last week, CBC News reported that Eastern Health is now relying on heart surgeons in Ottawa to help deal with a growing surgery backlog.

Tibbs told reporters he believes the health minister has "failed" Pardy.

Mark Quinn/CBC
Mark Quinn/CBC

Haggie said he couldn't comment on individual cases, but said patients who leave the province for surgery do so on a clinical basis, not because of the wait-list for cardiac care. He wouldn't say if he believed the state of cardiac care in Newfoundland and Labrador is in crisis.

"Cardiac care is available," he said.

Haggie said he's meeting with the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association on Wednesday about the surgery backlog.

Tibbs said Pardy's story, along with the images of rodents at the Health Sciences Centre, signal trouble in the health-care system. He called Haggie "out of touch."

"If you do not think we're in a crisis, you are completely out to lunch," he said.

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