One down, four to go: operating room reopens at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre

One of five flooded operating rooms at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre reopened for surgeries on Monday morning.

One of five flooded operating rooms at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre reopened for surgeries on Monday morning.

Five out of the nine operating rooms at Red Deer hospital closed March 1 after water poured down from a construction site on the second floor and into operating rooms below.

“We had originally hoped to have three of those five online today, or this week, and the other two up by the end of next week,” said Kerry Bales, chief zone officer for Alberta Health Services Central Zone.

But continuing construction, doorway access and the movement of patients would create hallway traffic problems, he said.

“From a safety perspective, we thought it would be better to finish all of that work and open up all the other ORs by next week.

“The work is primarily complete. We’ve got no reason to believe that we won’t be commissioning them as we expect to by the end of next week.”

All five of the flooded theatres had to be stripped down to the foundation and studs and rebuilt.

Urgent surgeries, like emergencies, obstetrical cases, urgent orthopedics and cancer cases continued to be done at the Red Deer hospital during re-construction. Elective and other surgeries were deferred.

As of Monday, 285 surgeries have been cancelled and deferred since March 1.

Some procedures were diverted to hospitals in Olds, Innisfail and Stettler during flood remediation.

Bales said AHS will be looking at surgery options at those hospitals and running longer hours at Red Deer operating rooms as surgery capacity returns to normal.

Normally, an average of 48 surgeries per day are performed at the Red Deer hospital.

He said 12 patient rooms on the second floor closed due to water damage should be back in use by the end of April.

Flooding happened during work to construct two operating rooms for scheduled cesarean sections and emergency obstetrical procedures.

Bales thanked everyone who helped during mishap, from those who first responded when the water started gushing to those involved in construction to get the operating rooms back up and running.

“It’s been a significant challenge, but all-in-all it’s gone remarkably well and fast.”

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