Some surgeries cancelled at St. Clare's hospital amid bed shortage

·1 min read
Some elective surgeries were cancelled at St. Clare's Mercy Hospital in St. John's on Monday due, in part, because of the number of patients who came to the emergency department. (CBC - image credit)
Some elective surgeries were cancelled at St. Clare's Mercy Hospital in St. John's on Monday due, in part, because of the number of patients who came to the emergency department. (CBC - image credit)

Patients waiting for elective surgery at St. Clare's Mercy Hospital were turned away Monday due to a lack of available beds at the St. John's facility.

"This was the result of a variety of factors, including the number of patients who presented at the emergency department, and the need to continue to provide inpatient care due to high acuity or unavailability of space at other facilities," an Eastern Health spokesperson said Wednesday.

CBC News published a story earlier this month on capacity issues at two hospitals with Eastern Health's jurisdiction. Documents obtained from the summer indicated the emergency department saw an unprecedented number of patients come through.

The email painted a grim picture of a system in crisis mode: at one point patients waited up to 31 hours for a bed. One note prepared for an Eastern Health official in June noted "patient volumes and delays have placed patient admissions, surgical lists and interventions at risk."

While capacity remains an issue, the health authority said it has strategies in place to help maximize bed availability.

A spokesperson said there are daily meetings of clinical teams to assess hospital capacity, and staff try to help discharge eligible patients efficiently.

They also complete outpatient surgeries, where possible, the spokesperson said, to free up space.

The health authority apologized for the postponed and rescheduled surgeries. It's not immediately clear how many patients were affected by the lack of beds. There were no surgery cancellations on Tuesday.

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