At Vancouver General Hospital when many patients were undergoing life-saving operations while a leak occurred in a floor and the dirty water was leaking from the ceiling. This mishappening occurred due to the construction work on the third floor of the hospital and that caused the pipe to leak and water dropped in the operating theatres, then in the light and ventilation shafts into the QRs.
Many patients are in loss. The time was approximately 11 am and many operations were taking place, some of them were crucial which will be taking five hours. Some emergency operations were continued even after the leakage and the patients and nurses were shifted to other room which was safe to continue the operation. In one case, a surgeon decided it was not safe to continue working in the leaking OR, so the patient on the table was temporarily closed up with sutures and the medical team moved the patient to an adjacent room where the all-day operation resumed.
18-20 operating rooms which were damaged will now be finally back in use from Thursday. Cancer surgery was going on and then suddenly medical professional watched something dripping by from ceilings and then many of the operations were postponed due to the bad infrastructure.
Dr. Marcel Dvorak, a spinal surgeon who is an associate medical director at Vancouver Coastal Health, said multiple ORs had “active water” dripping into the peripheral areas of the ORs. Nurses and other hospital staff “flew into action” using blankets to soak up water on the floors and suctioning water off equipment and surfaces. Tens of millions of dollars worth of electronic and sterile surgical equipment had to be protected and sealed with plastic.
Hospital is thanking god that no patient developed any kind of infection or any complications by surgery.
“All emergency cases, like trauma, were managed, and that’s saying a lot because 60 per cent of our cases are emergencies — like transplants, ruptured aneurysms, cardiac emergencies, spinal cord injuries, etc., which means they are unscheduled,” he said.
In one OR, the operation continued without incident for a number of hours, and in another, a patient was moved while under anesthetic “because it was deemed to be the safest thing to do.” Several rooms were considered “mechanically safe” with electrical and humidity systems intact so operations in progress were completed, but 13 other cases that were scheduled for that day were cancelled, Dvorak said.
“VGH treats the sickest of the sick from all over the province,” Dvorak said.
There is a construction work going on to resettle all the operating rooms and it will cost around $102 million. The hospital also decided to open and establish new ORs in order to escape from the mishappening in the future.
The existing ORs at VGH are 30 years old and considered too small for many types of cases requiring big medical teams, robotics and imaging equipment. Eventually, the existing ORs could be decommissioned or replaced. Dvorak said the OR expansion is “on time and on budget.”
He said anyone who has ever done renovations knows they can expect problems of some sort. “This was an out of the blue incident.”
“The exact details of who did what is now being investigated. Our first priority was focusing on keeping patients and staff safe.” said by Andrea Bisaillon who is the operation director at VGH.
She said PCL is the overall contractor for the construction project. The restoration company that has been retained for the salvage effort is called Proactive and “they are extremely aware of the fact that our first priority is the safety and lives of our patients.”
Dvorak said emergency preparedness exercises that hospital staff undergo to prepare for natural disasters such as earthquakes or other crises proved their worth.
“Simulation exercises that we do to learn how to handle mass casualties and other critical incidents help us prepare for these kinds of scenarios.”
Carrie Stefanson, a spokeswoman for the hospital and health authority, praised the efforts of hospital staff, both during and after the crisis.
“During a week of repairs and remediation, VGH has continued to meet the needs for emergent, urgent and transplant surgeries, including a cardiac diversion case from Royal Columbian Hospital.”