Breaking news

British Columbia ready to cancel elective surgeries as respiratory cases flood overcrowded hospitals

Health Minister Adrian Dix said postponing elective surgeries is a way to create room in hospitals for patients, especially children, who are battling flu and other respiratory illnesses.

Content of the article

When Neelam Naicker arrived at BC Children’s Hospital on Thursday afternoon with her five-year-old daughter Jaiya, she had packed food and toys after hearing about the long emergency room wait times.

Advertisement 2

This ad has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Content of the article

“When I walked in and saw the emergency room so full, I just looked at my husband and thought, ‘Oh my god, how are we going to keep her here for so long and keep her at comfortable? I was really scared to be honest,” Naiker said.

Content of the article

Because Jaiya was born prematurely and has a history in the hospital, the family was seen fairly quickly. Doctors were testing her for possible pneumonia.

Naiker said she was grateful for the help her family had received from the hospital and its staff, but wished parents didn’t have to face long waits for emergencies.

“Seeing the people waiting and imagining that I was one of them brings tears to my eyes.”

The province is grappling with a difficult illness season and steps will be taken to provide space for emergency respiratory cases, Health Minister Adrian Dix said Thursday.

Advertisement 3

This ad has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Content of the article

Dix said postponing elective surgeries is a way to create room in hospitals for patients, especially children, who are battling the flu and other respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19.

“We have other steps that we don’t want to take, but that would be, for example, delaying elective surgery and then quickly catching up afterwards,” Dix told reporters at the Assembly. legislative. “This stage is at our disposal. We haven’t done that yet.

BC Children’s Hospital, meanwhile, said it was triaging less severe patients from its emergency department to a nearby area due to an increase in the number of people with respiratory illnesses.

Christy Hay, the hospital’s executive director of clinical operations, said the department is primarily seeing viral illnesses, including COVID-19, and increasing cases of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.

Advertisement 4

This ad has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Content of the article

She said in an email that the increase in RSV and influenza was expected, based on trends in other parts of Canada and around the world.

The overflow area, called Sunny Bear, is in a building near the main emergency room. Patients are still coming into the emergency room, and then less serious cases will be sent to the overflow area to ease tensions on the overcrowded main emergency room.

The overflow space has been temporarily set up in a second-floor area with around three exam rooms, but on Friday evening it will open in a larger ground-floor space with around six exam rooms.

It will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., as long as there are enough doctors and nurses to staff it.

When Postmedia visited the space on Thursday, it was fairly quiet, with most children being examined behind closed doors.

Advertisement 5

This ad has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Content of the article

This contrasted with the ER waiting room, which was overflowing with sick parents and children – some playing with toy cars, some trying to sleep in buggies, others fidgeting in the crowded space and some crying waiting.

Dix said the current respiratory disease situation in British Columbia is concerning for parents and those awaiting surgery.

“You don’t want to delay surgeries unless you need them,” he said.

BC Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon said he hears “horror stories” daily from parents enduring long waits at emergency departments with their children.

“Why can a flu season cause such a massive crisis in our healthcare system? he declared during a press conference.

“(The government) won’t get better results if it doesn’t have the guts to make big changes to the system.”

With files from The Canadian Press

  1. BC CDC drops self-isolation requirements for COVID-19

  2. A website that tracks emergency room wait times showed that on weekends, some patients at BC Children's Hospital could expect to wait nearly nine hours.

    Limited supply of children’s cold medicine raises concerns as BC respiratory season kicks off


More news, less ads: Our in-depth journalism is possible thanks to the support of our subscribers. For just $3.50 a week, you can get unlimited, lightweight access to the Vancouver Sun, The Province, National Post and 13 other Canadian news sites. Support us by subscribing today: The Vancouver Sun | Province.

Advertisement 1

This ad has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

. British Columbia is ready cancel urgent surgeries so cases respiratory flood hospitals overcrowded

. British Columbia ready cancel elective surgeries respiratory cases flood overcrowded hospitals

PREV RSV cases are increasing; mother shares her family’s experience with the virus
NEXT Stamford football, Presley and Westhill retain Robotti Trophy