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St. Boniface hospital delays plans to reopen operating rooms

The St. Boniface Hospital Foundation wants to make upgrades to the Psychiatry McEwen Building. File / Global Winnipeg

WINNIPEG – St. Boniface hospital has had to delay plans to reopen its operating rooms Friday, forcing doctors to cancel more surgeries.

“We had thought St. Boniface would be able to open the operating rooms today but that was not possible,” said Dr. Brock Wright, Chief Medical Officer, WRHA.

Hundreds of elective surgeries have already been cancelled as a result of a mechanical failure in an air handling system January 22nd caused water pipes to freeze and burst.

The hospital was planning on opening six of the flooded operating rooms Friday but changed plans. The 14 previously damaged operating rooms are now completely repaired but after mechanical testing this morning, officials have postponed the opening.

The issue now is with the mechanical system, specifically the air flow.

“As we were going the final round of extra testing, started seeing variation in the air pressure and the air circulation that’s critical and essential to the OR and that got worse overnight so the only safe and reasonable decision was to postpone the cases that were foreseen for today,” said Dr. Michel Tetreault, President of St. Boniface Hospital.

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Tetreault said clean air is necessary in operating rooms but after today’s testing there are problems with air volume and pressure that brings in the clean air.

It will take until at least Tuesday to figure out and fix the cause of this mechanical system failure.

“We haven’t been able to fully understand what in the system isn’t functioning up to par, that will happen in 24, hopefully 48 hours,” said Tetreault.

Meantime, officials still can’t say how long it will take to reschedule the cancelled surgeries and work through the back log.

In the meantime, emergency surgical cases at St. B are being transferred to the Health Sciences Centre and Grace Hospital.

 

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