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Surgeries at St. B. could resume by week's end

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Surgeries could resume in all 14 operating rooms at St. Boniface General Hospital as early as Friday.

That’s the best-case scenario, according to the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

Repairs to the heating and ventilation systems in the OR areas of Manitoba’s second-largest hospital are proceeding well, officials said this afternoon.

Last Wednesday morning, heating coils in the ceiling of the operating room areas burst after cold air got in the ventilation system and they froze.

Initially, hospital officials worried surgeries at St. B. could have been cancelled for months, but there was little water damage to the ceiling or to drywall and only two of the 14 operating rooms suffered damage, which was mainly confined to hallways and ancillary rooms.

Dr. Brock Wright, chief medical officer with the WRHA, estimated that more than 200 elective or scheduled surgeries will have been postponed by the end of the week. Emergency and urgent surgeries that would have been performed at St. Boniface have been shifted to Health Sciences Centre and Grace General Hospital.

Wright said once the operating rooms at St. B. are in service once again, the region will extend the length of surgical days and conduct more operations on weekends to clear up the backlog as soon as possible.

Wright emphasized that a resumption of surgeries on Friday at St. Boniface is the "best-case scenario."

He said it could take as much as a week after that to ensure the ventilation system is safe and everything is ready to go.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

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