Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children says it will reduce the number of surgeries it performs starting on Monday to preserve its ability to provide critical care as it grapples with a spike in respiratory infections.
In a statement on its website on Friday, SickKids said the move will enable the hospital to make urgent, emergency and time sensitive surgeries a priority. Its administration teams will contact families whose scheduled procedures will be affected., the hospital said.
SickKids said it had “no choice” but to make the decision. The hospital said its intensive care unit has been above 127 per cent capacity for several days. More than half of its ICU patients, which includes cardiac ICU patients, are breathing with the help of ventilators, it said.
“This decision was not taken lightly,” Dr. Ronald Cohn, president and CEO of SickKids, said in the statement.
“The reduction in surgical activity will allow us to support areas of the hospital that need help managing increasing patient volumes and acuity, including the critical care units, pediatric medicine and Emergency Department.”
The hospital said “its community partners” have also reached their maximum capacity and it is now supporting doctors virtually to care for pediatric patients who would otherwise receive care at SickKids.
Endoscopy services and image-guided therapy, provided by the hospital, will also make urgent cases and patients already in the hospital a priority, SickKids said.
Mississauga, Credit Valley hospitals merge pediatric units
Other hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area are making decisions as well to cope with an influx of children who need care.
Trillium Health Partners, said in a statement on Friday that it has consolidated the pediatric unit at Mississauga Hospital with that of Credit Valley Hospital. All pediatric patients are being cared for at Credit Valley Hospital currently, it said.
Trillium Health Partners is a hospital network with three sites — Credit Valley Hospital, Mississauga Hospital and Queensway Health Centre
“By working together on one site, our clinical teams have been able to keep the same number of beds open to support children and families in need,” Keeley Rogers, spokesperson for Trillium Health Partners, said in the statement.
“We want to assure you that this has not decreased access to high quality care in our community and region,”
Rogers said Mississauga Hospital’s emergency department remains open to pediatric patients, and if they need to be admitted to hospital, they will be transferred to Credit Valley Hospital for care.
“As part of our surge plans, we will continue to reassess our space to ensure we are maximizing all available bed spaces within our hospitals, actively recruit new staff, and introduce additional clinics and resources to support our children in our community,” he said.