Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Vent woes delay ORs' reopening

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Friday's planned reopening of St. Boniface Hospital operating rooms was delayed due to the discovery Thursday night of problems with the ventilation system.

The hospital's 14 ORs have been closed the past 10 days due to water damage after heating coils froze and cracked.

As of Friday, 266 elective or scheduled surgeries at St. Boniface had been postponed. Surgeries for 20 patients have been delayed at other hospital sites due to bumping by the most serious cases from St. Boniface. A small number of cases scheduled for procedures outside the operating room have also been delayed.

Hospital officials remain optimistic the ORs could reopen as early as Tuesday but did not want to make predictions. The heating coils have been repaired and damaged drywall and ceiling tiles replaced.

The plan was to open six operating rooms Friday. But Thursday night, an inspection found variations in air circulation that weren't supposed to be there.

There are two things important to maintaining clean air in ORs: the volume of air and the pressure pushing the air. Malfunction of either can create a scenario that allows germs to enter, said Michel Tetreault, St. Boniface Hospital president.

"We will run a full simulation of a day's work in the OR" once the problem is resolved, before reopening, he said.

"The worst-case scenario is difficult to predict. I'd be surprised if it took more than a week," said Tetreault.

The most critical surgeries from St. Boniface are being moved to Health Sciences Centre and Grace Hospital.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 1, 2014 B2

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