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Nearly 7,500 surgeries across Alberta postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic

Nearly 7,500 surgeries across Alberta postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic
WATCH: Patients across Alberta are left in limbo after thousands of surgeries had to be shelved due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As Jill Croteau reports, a Calgary woman is speaking out after her potentially life-saving surgery was briefly put on hold.

Cam-Lorell Forster was diagnosed with cervical and uterine cancer in November 2019. Her oncologist told her he would schedule surgery and it was treatable because it was “caught early.”

But on Wednesday, her surgery to remove it was suddenly cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’ve lost friends and family to cancer — I just never thought it would be me and now it’s like I’m being tossed aside,” the Calgary woman said.

“Cancer just doesn’t go away.”

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Forster’s surgery was postponed from anywhere between six months to a year.

“I’m scared,” she said.

“I am not going to die tomorrow, but if this doesn’t get taken care of, how much worse is it going to be?”

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Since the province announced elective surgeries would be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, 7,500 surgeries have been postponed.

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Watch below: (From March 17, 2020) Dr. Deena Hinshaw said that all non-urgent scheduled and elective surgeries in Alberta will be postponed so health care workers can be redeployed as COVID-19 cases increase.

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

According to Alberta Health Services, 2,896 surgeries in the Edmonton zone have been postponed, 2,839 in the Calgary zone, 810 in the Central zone, 599 in the South zone and 385 in the North zone.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Patients worried after Alberta cancels non-urgent surgeries

Kerry Bowman, a bioethics professor from the University of Toronto, said there should be exceptions.

“The decisions of cancelled surgeries would have almost a triage lens, and they would be looking at people where it wouldn’t have a significant impact on their health and well-being,” Bowman said.

AHS spokesperson Kerry Williamson said because of the fluidity of the pandemic, there were some issues with scheduling.

“Cancer surgeries are continuing as they were before the COVID-19 pandemic,” Williamson said. “Any cancer patient who needs urgent emergency surgery will receive it. They will be triaged for urgency, just as they were before the pandemic.

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“We acknowledge that this is a challenging time for all of us, but especially for our patients. AHS is doing all it can to ensure Albertans with urgent health concerns get the care they need.”

Following inquiries by Global News, Forster got another call. Her surgery is no longer going to be postponed and she’s scheduled to have her surgery on April 2.