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Several non-emergent, elective surgical procedures at Children’s Hospital
to be postponed

In an effort to ensure ongoing capacity within the province’s only pediatric intensive care unit during a sustained increase in pediatric cases of respiratory activity, several non-emergent, elective pediatric surgeries scheduled at HSC Children’s Hospital are being postponed, Shared Health and HSC Winnipeg announced today. 

“HSC Children’s is Manitoba’s hospital for pediatrics, home to the province’s only pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and the location of the majority of pediatric surgeries in the province” explained Nicole Sneath, Director, Child Health at HSC Winnipeg. “Since mid-December, HSC Children’s has admitted 120 children and babies with lab-confirmed cases of respiratory infections and other influenza-like illnesses including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza A and influenza B. We have increased our capacity in the PICU and in other areas of Children’s however the sustained nature of the increase has made it necessary for us to look at all options to ensure we have the ability to continue to admit and care for our sickest children.”

Fewer than five surgeries per week are anticipated to be affected by this decision. Emergency and urgent surgeries, day surgeries and cancer cases are not affected.

“Surgeons will review planned surgeries on a case-by-case basis to determine those that may be safely postponed,” said Dr. Patricia Birk, medical director, Child Health at HSC “Our focus is on those surgical cases where the patient is able to safely remain at home until their surgery and where a short delay will not have negative medical consequences. Those patients will avoid travel and admission to hospital for non-urgent surgery during this time of heightened respiratory illness.” 

Fewer than five surgeries per week are anticipated to be affected by this decision, Birk added, with all cases anticipated to be rebooked within four to eight weeks. Affected families will be contacted directly by the site.

More than 6,500 children have presented to the emergency department at HSC Children’s since mid-December, a significant increase over the same timeframe a year earlier, added Sneath. The PICU has increased its capacity from 9 beds to 16 to accommodate the increased volume and additional spaces have been opened in the site’s Pediatric Special Care Unit to accommodate the transfer of more stable PICU patients.

There is no impact on adult surgeries scheduled at HSC.

Media contact:
Sara Locke