The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre is gaining two dedicated operating rooms for scheduled caesarean sections and emergency obstetrical procedures.
Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne announced on Thursday in Red Deer that the Family Boardwalk Lounge inside the Maternal Child Services Unit will be turned into operating rooms to the tune of $9.7 million. Another $1.2 million for equipment was donated by the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation.
“We’re seeing increased pressures in this zone in general surgeries and other medical specialities that require the use of the operating room,” said Horne.
An operating room that was dedicated for obstetrical uses, including emergencies, will return to general surgery use.
Horne said the new spaces will alleviate pressure in the general operating room and are expected to allow 1,600 more general surgeries to be performed each year. He said other specialities will be able to manage surgery schedules and wait lists at the hospital.
Obstetrician Dr. Bill Young said there are on average 225 babies born each month or 2,700 a year at the hospital, of which 30 per cent result in c-sections. The unit was originally designed to handle 1,500 deliveries a year.
Young, who is also the hospital’s associate zone medical director, said C-sections are the most commonly performed operation in North America.
He said the new space will greatly enhance the staff’s ability to provide a higher level of safety and faster response to emergencies, and ease the demands of a growing population.
“They are going to provide us with greater access and safety,” he said. “It will be staffed by experienced obstetric nurses who are intimately aware of the needs of the labouring obstetrical patient. It will allow faster time to emergencies.”
As it stands, expectant mothers are wheeled down a hallway in a stretcher and into an elevator to reach the operating room on another floor. Young said that’s a simple matter on a stretcher but in an emergency situation, it is a very different scenario where time is often of the essence.
Young said the staff of nurses, midwives, obstetricians, pediatricians and others have been waiting for this day for a long time.
The project is in the preliminary design phase. Construction is expected to get underway in 2015 and the project completed some 18 months later.