Elective surgeries at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops had to be cancelled due to a power failure March 3, but battery powered equipment allowed the hospital to continue providing emergency surgeries as needed, said hospital administrator Tracey Rannie.
An electrical breaker at the hospital failed just after 10 a.m. on March 3, which impacted the hospital’s suction equipment resulting in the cancellation of 16 elective surgeries ranging from general surgery to orthopedic, gynecological and dental procedures, Rannie said.
She said the hospital wards and operating rooms are equipped with battery powered back-up suction systems. Power was restored at about 2:30 p.m. but for safety reasons elective surgeries were not resumed that day.
“If a surgery was underway during the initial power outage, the surgery was completed with the assistance of the back-up suction,” Rannie said.
“The decision was made, however, not to proceed with any further elective surgeries to ensure we weren’t putting patients at risk. The backup systems are for emergency situations only.”
She said it is important for people to know that the emergency operating room remained operational, and emergency surgeries proceeded with the support of the hospital’s backup systems.
“We regret the impact on patients,” Rannie said. “We do recognize it is challenging for patients and families when surgeries have to be postponed.”
When surgeries are postponed in extenuating circumstances such as this, the hospital does offer support for transportation assistance, or accommodation for out-of-town patients who have been impacted, Rannie said.
She confirmed that rather than an overnight stay at a hotel, Connie Jones, who had her hip replacement surgery cancelled, chose to go home that day by taxi at a cost of $495.
Rannie also responded to Jones’ concerns about seeing patients being cared for behind screens in the hospital hallways.
“There are times, unfortunately, when patients are being cared for in a location other than a room,” Rannie said.
“This is less than ideal, and occurs when the hospital is experiencing significant demand for services. Winter is particularly a busy season, with the impact that can occur with influenza.”
She further explained that Royal Inland Hospital has 10 operating rooms. Nine operating rooms are designated for elective surgeries and one operating room is dedicated for emergency surgeries.
Surgical time is divided between the various surgical specialities.
Then each surgeon within a surgical speciality is provided with a block of time for their surgeries. The surgeons themselves do their own bookings through their offices within their allocated blocks of time.
During the 2015/16 fiscal year she said 633 hip and knee replacement surgeries were completed at Royal Inland Hospital. For the current fiscal year, the latest numbers available are from April 2016 to January 2017, which show 520 cases completed.