Family angered by 'no service disruptions' claim as surgery cancelled a 6th time

·2 min read
Dennis Sharp dances with his daughter, Alicia, at her wedding in September. Dennis's bypass surgery has been cancelled six times at Saint John Regional Hospital. (Submitted by Alicia Sharp - image credit)
Dennis Sharp dances with his daughter, Alicia, at her wedding in September. Dennis's bypass surgery has been cancelled six times at Saint John Regional Hospital. (Submitted by Alicia Sharp - image credit)

Dennis Sharp was in his hospital bed, awaiting heart surgery that had already been cancelled five times, when he read about the health-care staff shortages at Saint John Regional Hospital on Wednesday.

Earlier that day, Horizon Health Network had confirmed that 95 health-care workers were off work "due to COVID-19 related reasons."

However, no outbreaks had been declared and there has been "no disruption to services," Margaret Melanson, vice-president quality and patient-centred care with the Horizon Health Network, said Wednesday.

That statement surprised Sharp, and angered his daughter, Alicia Sharp.

"I hope that it's a misunderstanding," she said, "but services are being disrupted, whether that's what they want the general public to believe or not."

Sharp said her father has been waiting for two weeks for an available ICU bed so that he can have quadruple bypass heart surgery.

On Thursday morning, it was cancelled a sixth time.

"Every time it's been cancelled either because there's no ICU beds or there's no ICU nurses to staff the ICU beds," she said. "He could very well die waiting for the surgery."

CBC News has reached out to Horizon Health Network for updates on the staffing shortages and COVID-19 situation at Saint John Regional Hospital.

CBC
CBC

More health-care staff expected to be on sick leave

On Thursday afternoon, Public Health reported a record 572 COVID-19 cases in the province.

In a news release, Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said the province was preparing for the possibility of more health-care staff absences, and said mitigating the impact on the health system "is the top priority."

"Regional health authorities and Extra-Mural/Ambulance New Brunswick continue their efforts to prepare the system for both an increase in hospitalizations and the possibility of more health-care staff out on sick leave," Shephard said, adding that New Brunswickers should stay away from emergency departments unless absolutely necessary.

Public Health also reported that there are 40 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 16 of them in ICU.

"The rate of people hospitalized and in ICU continues to most greatly impact people who are unvaccinated," the department said Thursday.

Meanwhile, Sharp said her family has no choice but to continue to hope for the surgery to proceed, but they're angered by how the situation has been aggravated by people who have chosen not to get vaccinated.

"[My father] followed all the rules all through COVID, he's triple vaccinated, we've kept our bubble small," she said. "It's frustrating to see that the people who haven't followed the rules all along still take priority."

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