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Rivière-Rouge, Que., files injunction to keep ER open overnight

The Rivière-Rouge Hospital's ER will only be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. starting February 1, prompting backlash and the filing of an injunction. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press - image credit)
The Rivière-Rouge Hospital's ER will only be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. starting February 1, prompting backlash and the filing of an injunction. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press - image credit)

The town of Rivière-Rouge in the lower Laurentians has filed an injunction in Quebec Superior Court to try to prevent the closure of its hospital's evening and overnight emergency services.

The health authority for the region recently announced the ER would only be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. starting Feb. 1 because of staffing shortages.

But Carl-Éric Therrien, the lawyer representing the town of Riviere-Rouge and its residents, said four doctors at Rivière-Rouge hospital are prepared to testify that they can fulfil the mandate of the ER.

He says a full-time emergency room is vital for people living in the area, as the next closest ER in the region is 60 kilometres away.

"If you close it, can you imagine all the problems for all those people who need to go to the hospital?" he said.

"They want to send them to other departments' emergencies very far, and those places are already full of people. I think the rights of people to be received in a hospital are overruled."

Residents of Rivière-Rouge protested the move earlier this month.

Earlier this month, Health minister Christian Dubé insisted there were no plans to close the ER completely. He also said there would be one doctor on duty to care for patients who were admitted during the day who could also stabilize critical patients so they could be transferred to another emergency room at night.