AHS starting up elective surgeries again welcome news for Edmonton woman on waitlist

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
WATCH (March 18): Dr. Deena Hinshaw explains why Alberta cancelled elective surgeries amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. – Mar 18, 2020

An Edmonton woman who is in the queue for an orthopaedic surgery is relieved that Alberta Health Services (AHS) will soon be resuming some elective procedures.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Alberta phased relaunch strategy will see some restrictions eased Friday

The province’s relaunch plan will see AHS start up some elective procedures on May 4 as restrictions in the province ease during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I know it’s not been easy for them to have their surgeries postponed,” AHS President Dr. Verna Yiu said on Thursday.

“The type of surgeries we’re looking at, as I said, are going to be the scheduled day surgeries. So, for example, we know our two biggest wait lists are cataract surgeries and some of the orthopaedic surgeries, so those are some that will be on the list.”

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More surgeries will be rolled out as the province approaches various stages of re-opening.

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Alberta announces relaxation on COVID-19 measures including golf courses – Apr 30, 2020

“Decisions on which surgeries will proceed are being made at the zone level, and will be guided by the pandemic response requirements, flooding and wildfire activity in different parts of the province,” reads a statement from AHS spokesperson James Wood to Global News.

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“Surgeries and procedures will be prioritized using established prioritization processes with patients at greatest need and those waiting the longest receiving care first.

“Surgeries will take place in AHS facilities as well as in Chartered Surgical Facilities.”

Woods said AHS will begin contacting Albertans on waitlists in the coming days to reschedule their procedures.

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

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“We will ensure that we balance the need to sustain capacity for the anticipated surge in COVID-19 patients with the need to care for patients requiring surgery.

“To ensure we maintain adequate resources over and above the requirements for COVID-19, we will conduct weekly assessments and adapt as required,” Woods said.

Stephanie Reid-Mazzuca broke her foot at the end of Nov. 2018 after slipping on some water and was put in an air cast for three months.

Courtesy/Stephanie Reid-Mazzuca
Courtesy/Stephanie Reid-Mazzuca. Courtesy/Stephanie Reid-Mazzuca

At the end of February 2020, she was referred to a sports injury doctor who told her she needed surgery and that the waitlist would take roughly a year.

READ MORE: 190 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alberta, 3 new deaths

However, scheduled and elective surgeries were put on hold in mid-March in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“It was frustrating because it causes a lot of issues with my day-to-day lifestyle. It’s harder for me to walk long distances,” Reid-Mazzuca said of her foot when she learned elective surgeries had been cancelled.

“It sucked knowing it was on hold for sure.”

The 24-year-old said it was welcome news to hear on Thursday that some scheduled surgeries will soon start up again.

“The list is going to be moving. It’s not at a standstill completely, which is nice,” Reid-Mazzuca said.

“I get why they did what they did. Safety first always.

“It sucked on my end knowing my surgery was on hold for now. I would much rather be safe than sorry and know that people who need emergency surgery were getting it.”

Reid-Mazzuca is now expecting her surgery to take place mid-2021 and she said it will be a huge relief when it finally happens.

“Just being able to do my regular day-to-day activities – being able to ride a bike and not being in pain – that’s probably what I’m most excited for.”