Watch above: A section of the Misericordia Hospital has been closed after a pipe cracked early Saturday morning, causing the area to flood. While officials are quick to point out this was due to deteriorating infrastructure, there are renewed calls to have the aging facility replaced altogether. Eric Szeto reports.
EDMONTON – Select surgeries and procedures at the Misericordia Community Hospital are being rescheduled due to flooding in some of the surgical areas.
Covenant Health says heavy rainfall Friday evening and early Saturday morning caused a pipe leak. The pipe has been replaced and the area is being repaired, Covenant Health added.
“There was a drain pipe on the roof that cracked and the water, which was rain water, actually flooded into the surgical day area,” said Janet Schimpf, senior operating officer at the Misericordia Hospital. “Water, of course, moves downward and into our reprocessing area and into their sterile storage area.”
Day surgery, endoscopy and cystoscopy have been impacted. About 300 patients have been affected.
Covenant Health says it is working closely with Alberta Health Services to make sure patients’ procedures are rescheduled, possibly at other medical facilities in the Edmonton region.
“We are establishing procedures in which to contact patients about surgical delays. We will be working on prioritization of cases to ensure that cases do go forward that need to go forward on an urgent basis,” said Bob Black, the Misericordia Hospital’s medical director.
The area of the hospital is expected to be closed for a few days. There is no damage estimate at this time. Health officials say they’ll have a better of the extent of the damage in the coming days.
This isn’t the first time the facility has experienced flooding. A flood last May forced more than 50 patients and more than 160 staff to be transferred to the Royal Alexandra Hospital.
Schimpf says this weekend’s pipe leak is not related to last year’s flooding. This particular incident happened in a newer area of the hospital. Schimpf says the wing opened in 1991.
The PC government has been under fire for the state of the 45-year-old building. In February, the leader of the Alberta Liberal Party, Raj Sherman, called the conditions “third-world.”
Sunday afternoon, NDP health critic David Eggen said the ongoing issues at the Misericordia compromise the integrity of public health delivery in Edmonton.
“It makes me very angry because we know that the hospital and Covenant Health, patients and families, we’re all complaining about the state of this hospital. And once again, we have a major maintenance failure.”
The building was scheduled to be replaced, or at least rebuilt, six years ago. The emergency room treats twice the number of patients it was designed for, with close to 50,000 people a year walking through the doors, according to Covenant Health.
The health minister says nearly $20 million has been committed to bringing the hospital up to par, but adds more needs to be done.
“We’re growing at an alarming rate in Edmonton, we’re happy to see the growth, but obviously we need a health care capacity to go along with it. So, replacement of the Mis? Absolutely. We have to replace the capacity here, but we need more than that, we need additional capacity, as well.”
As for an entirely new hospital, Horne says the ministry needs to look at the city as a whole.
“Covenant Health is providing me, along with AHS, with an estimate in the next five to eight years of how much additional funding they might require to keep the hospital running at capacity while we build new hospital capacity in Edmonton.
“I just want to be clear, we’re not starting a discussion about that now, we’ve been planning for this for some time.”
Horne says the latest incident highlights the fact that the government needs to always be investing in infrastructure
With files from Eric Szeto, Global News.