Sick Kids hospital to delay non-urgent surgeries amid ‘pediatric crisis’

Click to play video: 'Sick Kids hospital preparing for surge of respiratory patients'
Sick Kids hospital preparing for surge of respiratory patients
WATCH: Sick Kids hospital preparing for surge of respiratory patients – Nov 11, 2022

Sick Kids hospital is reducing surgical activity in an effort to safeguard critical care beds, the hospital announced, amid an unprecedented surge in patients requiring acute care.

Pediatric hospitals across Ontario have been reporting a wave of critically ill pediatric patients which has led to never-before-seen demand on emergency rooms — forcing health-care facilities to redeploy resources to manage patient volumes.

Sick Kids President Dr. Ronald Cohn said the hospital had “no choice” but to prioritize “urgent, emergency and time-sensitive surgeries” as of Nov. 14 in order to preserve critical care beds for an influx of patients.

“This decision was not taken lightly. The reduction in surgical activity will allow us to support areas of the hospital that need help managing increasing patient volumes and acuity, including the critical care units, paediatric medicine and Emergency Department,” Dr. Cohn said in a statement.

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The hospital said its administrative teams will be contacting affected patients.

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The hospital’s Chief Medical Officer told Global News the province is dealing with a “pediatric crisis,” one that he hasn’t experienced in his 18-year medical career.

“It’s filling up every single ward of the hospital,” said Dr. Lennox Huang. “Our ICU is pretty much right at capacity, we’re seeing this in our emergency department and our general pediatric floors as well.”

The hospital set up a command centre to monitor patients inside the hospital and those being treated in the wider community in order to balance the number of patients who need to be admitted to the emergency room.

Over the past several days, the hospital’s intensive care unit has been 127 per cent over capacity, with more than half of the patients in the ICU requiring a ventilator.

Dr. Huang says while some surgeries can be delayed by a few months without a dramatic impact on the child’s well-being, other patients might suffer as a result.

Click to play video: 'Pediatric ICUs across Ontario over capacity'
Pediatric ICUs across Ontario over capacity

“We have an incredible waitlist of children needing surgery and when you layer this kind of crisis on top of that it means you delay even more,” Huang said.

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“This will impact the lives of these children.”

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