Flooding closes fifth operating room

A fifth operating room was closed at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre on Sunday due to a construction-related flood at the hospital last week.

A fifth operating room was closed at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre on Sunday due to a construction-related flood at the hospital last week.

Last Tuesday afternoon, all nine operating rooms were temporarily closed after water poured down from a construction site on the second-floor of the hospital and into operating rooms below.

Four operating rooms flooded and have remained closed since Tuesday.

Kerry Bales, chief zone officer for Alberta Health Services Central Zone, said as of Monday a total of 67 surgeries have been cancelled and deferred.

Urgent surgeries, like emergencies, obstetrical cases, urgent orthopedics and cancer cases continue to be done at the Red Deer hospital. Elective and other surgeries are being deferred.

“We’ve been running longer hours so it has helped us to be able to pick up some of the procedures that we lost through the five that have been closed,” Bales said on Monday.

Depending on the availability of staff, surgery hours have been extended into the evening, along with extra day surgery and weekend surgery, he said.

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

“As we’re rescheduling surgeries, we are looking to increase our capacity at outlying sites like Innisfail and Olds and we will also be giving consideration in the longer term to having to possibly reschedule surgeries outside of the zone, possibly Calgary or Edmonton.”

Operating rooms still in use are three theatres used for general surgery and a smaller operating room that has always and will continue to be used only for urology surgery.

He said demolition work on operating room ceilings, walls and in some cases floors is expected to begin this week.

“It’s a complete reclamation of the interior of those operating theatres.

“Once that demolition has been done we’ll have a much better sense of exactly what needs to occur to reconstruct and to rebuild. From that we’ll have a timeline as to how long we think it will be before we get those five ORs up and running.”

Flooding sprang from construction underway to build two operating rooms for scheduled caesarean sections and emergency obstetrical procedures.

“It’s definitely unfortunate and we regret the impact that this has on patients and families. We are working to bring these ORs back on line as soon as possible.”

Bales thanked staff and physicians who have worked so hard to minimize the impact on patients.

“The response and the collaboration that has come out of this at Red Deer, amongst people in the zone, and even outside the zone, has been absolutely phenomenal.”


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