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Coronavirus: Patients worried after Alberta cancels non-urgent surgeries

Click to play video 'Albertans affected by surgery delays amid COVID-19 pandemic' Albertans affected by surgery delays amid COVID-19 pandemic
WATCH ABOVE: As the province aims to put as much energy as needed into eradicating the novel coronavirus, Alberta Health postponed non-essential and elective surgeries. Eloise Therien spoke with two Taber, Alta. residents who will now likely have to wait months to receive their procedures. – Mar 19, 2020

Alberta Health Services has cancelled all non-urgent surgeries and procedures in facilities across the province in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is a necessary step to ensure the health-care system can sustain its pandemic response,and be able to respond to emergencies,” AHS said on its website.

Emergency surgery and scheduled oncology and cesarean procedures will go ahead as normal.

READ MORE: All non-urgent scheduled and elective surgeries in Alberta will be postponed: Dr Deena Hinshaw

Although her surgery isn’t considered necessary, Taber resident Belinda Williams says her Multiple Sclerosis has limited her ability to be independent.

“In 2015, my right leg decided it was not going to listen to my brain anymore,” Williams said.

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“The surgery was going to be to try and lengthen my Achilles tendon to get my heel back on the floor.”

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Williams says her procedure would ease a good amount of pain caused by her MS and she’s already waited more than a year for it to be done.

Click to play video 'Hinshaw explains why Alberta needed to cancel elective surgeries amid COVID-19 pandemic' Hinshaw explains why Alberta needed to cancel elective surgeries amid COVID-19 pandemic
Hinshaw explains why Alberta needed to cancel elective surgeries amid COVID-19 pandemic – Mar 18, 2020

As for the rest of the province, AHS estimates 7,500 surgeries will be impacted across all five health zones.

 

READ MORE: Alberta reports province’s 1st COVID-19 death, officials working on plan to enforce new rules

“I wouldn’t want to take a bed away from somebody that needs it,” said Brad Murphy, who was scheduled to receive a colostomy on April 3 at the Chinook Regional Hospital.

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“I don’t really want to go in there if they’re still having problems and there’s a chance of getting sick,” he said.

AHS urges patients awaiting elective surgery to avoid calling 811, as those in need of new appointments will be contacted personally.

As of Thursday, Williams and Murphy have yet to receive phone calls for rescheduling.

Click to play video 'All non-urgent scheduled and elective surgeries in Alberta will be postponed: Dr Deena Hinshaw' All non-urgent scheduled and elective surgeries in Alberta will be postponed: Dr Deena Hinshaw
All non-urgent scheduled and elective surgeries in Alberta will be postponed: Dr Deena Hinshaw – Mar 17, 2020