Surgeries restart at Carman hospital
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/03/2022 (268 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Surgeries resumed at the Carman hospital Monday, after a nearly three-month shutdown owing to construction and COVID-19 delays.
“It’s a great relief,” said Dr. Gerry Clayden, moments before he was called back into the operating room at Carman Memorial Hospital.
The surgeon said he had a full slate of eight patients a day lined up Monday and Tuesday, and was catching up on postponed endoscopy procedures.
Surgical slates have begun to resume across the Southern Health region after being limited to urgent and emergency surgeries during the Omicron variant wave of COVID-19, a Shared Health spokesperson said.
Clayden, who’s practiced in Carman for 23 years, had questioned why the OR hadn’t been able to open sooner to start tackling the backlog of surgeries.
The hospital closed in late December for repairs to its ventilation and heating systems. Surgical nurses were redeployed to treat COVID-19 patients in other hospitals, and no surgery resumption date was set, even after Southern Health circulated its plans to reopen the hospital Feb. 22, and the ER by Feb. 28.
Worried about the growing backlog, Clayden expressed his concerns publicly last month. At the time, he said he already had a wait list of more than 400 patients and was adding 20 to 30 to the queue every day.
“I’ve run out of things to say to people. It’s terrible; it’s heartbreaking for me. I’ve spent my whole life treating people — I’ve been a doctor for 48 years — and now I have to turn around and tell people, ‘Yes, you need treatment, but I don’t know how and when I’m going to do it,’” Clayden told the Free Press on Feb. 8.
Clayden said he was only able to get back into the OR on Monday for the first time since the Dec. 23 shutdown, and estimated administrative staff had spent the past week rescheduling patients.
Pre-pandemic, the hospital in the town of about 3,100, roughly 75 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg, served as a space that helped take pressure off city hospitals for low-risk day surgeries.
Elsewhere in the southern region, more non-emergency surgeries are set to resume.
Shared Health stated 10 surgical slates were added at Boundary Trails Health Centre in Winkler last week, and nine slates for elective and non-urgent surgeries are set to open up this week at Steinbach’s Bethesda Regional Health Centre.
“Surgical volumes will continue to be added across the system in an order guided by clinical experts, patient needs, and availability of appropriate staffing,” Shared Health has said.
Katie May is a general-assignment reporter for the Free Press.
Updated on Monday, March 14, 2022 5:53 PM CDT: Removes mistaken reference to Feb. 28 open date