St. Mary’s General Hospital Resumes Surgery, Outpatient Procedures Following February 8 Flood

Tuesday, February 17 (KITCHENER) – Today St. Mary’s General Hospital has resumed surgery and outpatient procedures. This follows major flooding due to a water main break on Sunday, February 8, which affected many areas of the hospital that are critical to providing safe access to surgery and other patient procedures. Inpatient care was not significantly affected during this period.

“We are delighted to be able to resume full services today at 8:00 a.m. due to the extraordinary efforts and long hours of hard work by our staff, physicians, and volunteers,” said St. Mary’s President Don Shilton. “Full restoration of damaged areas of the hospital will take many more weeks, but this is a key milestone in our recovery.”

“We appreciate that the disruption, delays and uncertainty since the February 8 flood were stressful for patients and families. We owe a great debt to our community for the cooperation and understanding shown to us during this challenging time.”

St. Mary’s and local surgeon’s offices worked throughout last week to contact more than 400 patients whose elective surgeries were cancelled due to the flood. Anyone who has a procedure booked for today, February 17, and who hasn’t received a call from their surgeon’s office, should prepare as instructed and arrive at the time they were given.

Patients are also asked to contact their surgeon’s office with any questions about a booked or rescheduled procedure. In order to re-book procedures as quickly as possible at St. Mary’s, extra hours have been added to the operating room schedule and time will be made available during March break, when most of the operating rooms traditionally slow down.

Patients and families are advised that while operations of three of the four elevators servicing the main hospital were restored last week, the two elevators in the main lobby to the second floor operating rooms continue to be out of service until at least February 23. Volunteers will be available in the main lobby to assist patients and families who need to get to the second floor operating rooms.

Some patient services disrupted by the flood were restored earlier last week. In the Cardiac Catheterization Labs, where angiograms and angioplasty are performed, many procedures delayed at the start of last week have already been completed. The Code STEMI program, for emergency heart attack interventions, was re-started on February 11.

Inpatient units are open for visitors from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily. The basement cafeteria and Subway remain closed for approximately two more weeks. Tim Hortons in the lobby is open for business.

Updates will continue to be posted as they are available at www.smgh.ca. A damage estimate from the flood is not yet known.

“St. Mary’s could not have achieved this major recovery of services in such a relatively short period of time without the assistance of many individuals, organizations, contractors, partner hospitals, the City of Kitchener, Waterloo Region EMS and other community supporters,” said Mr. Shilton. “Through this unfortunate event, we have been reminded of the devotion of our staff, physician and volunteers to our patients and families and the generous spirit of our great community.”

 

Backgrounder:

 In the early morning hours of February 8, a watermain which supplies fresh water to St. Mary’s burst near the loading dock at the rear of the hospital. Approximately five feet of water pooled in the loading dock area behind the hospital, flooding the hospital’s basement where many services are located, resulting in up to 20 centimetres of standing water in spots.

 These services included:

  • Sterile Processing – (cleaning and sterilization of surgical instruments and reusable supplies). Resumed operation Saturday, February 14.
  • Pharmacy – Relocated in the building February 11.
  • Stores - (houses supplies and equipment). Resumed operation February 17.
  • Dietary - (inpatient meals). Resumed operation February 17.
  • Cafeteria/Subway - Closed for approximately two more weeks.
  • Elevators – Three of four elevators to the hospital tower restored February 11. Two elevators in main lobby remain out of service. More than 42,000 litres of water was pumped out of the elevator shafts alone.

The impact to patient services included:

  • Closure of operating rooms for elective procedures. Postponement of more than 400 patient surgeries due to lack of access to surgical instruments and supplies
  • Diversion of some emergency surgery to other centres 
  • Closure of the Cardiac Cath Lab and Code STEMI (emergency heart attack) programs from February 8 to February 11.
  • Visitor restrictions from February 8 to 12 (with the exception of palliative and critical care)
  • Outsourced meals for approximately 150 inpatients daily from February 8 to February 16.
  • Closure of the Cafeteria (Subway) and seating area for up to three weeks.

 

Media Contact:

Angela Volpe

Manager, Communications
St. Mary’s General Hospital
Office: 519-749-6412
Mobile: 226-339-9147
Email: avolpe@smgh.ca  

Anne Kelly

Communications Specialist
519-749-6578, ext. 1501
226-339-1903 (mobile)
akelly@smgh.ca