Kids' hospital in London, Ont., reduces surgeries to aid overwhelmed critical care

LONDON, Ont. — Another pediatric hospital in Ontario says it's cutting back on surgeries to help prop up its overburdened critical care units.

The Children's Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre says it made the difficult decision to reduce surgical activity as of late last week.

It joins the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and CHEO in Ottawa, two major Ontario pediatric hospitals that recently announced they would cancel some surgeries to redeploy staff to hard-hit emergency departments and intensive care units.

The hospital in London, Ont., says daily visits to the ER are 80 per cent higher than usual and its inpatient beds are well over capacity.

While the hospital says it has taken a number of surge measures, such as extending its critical care capacity and sending kids over 14 to adult ICUs, more action is needed.

Pediatric hospitals across Ontario have been grappling with a huge influx in sick patients linked to influenza, respiratory syncytial virus and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The London hospital says reducing surgical activity will allow teams to prioritize urgent, time-sensitive surgeries and help manage patients admitted to critical care and inpatient units.

"This is an extremely difficult decision and one that I wish we didn't have to make," Children's Hospital president Nash Syed said in a statement.

"To the parents and family members of paediatric patients, I want to assure you that our health care teams will do everything they can to reschedule surgeries in a timely manner."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 22, 2022.

The Canadian Press