Humidity forces surgery cancellations



The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance made the precautionary decision to cancel elective surgical procedures scheduled for today after high levels of humidity in the Chatham hospital put surgical equipment at possible risk of contamination.

A report from CKHA vice president Willi Kirenko said the organization was conducting necessary repairs to its back up generator system, which was at critical risk of failure, over the weekend. The scheduled work required the main chillers to be shut down for 15 minutes yesterday afternoon at 2 p.m.

Due to the extreme weather, this elevated the humidity levels within the Operating Room and Medical Device Reprocessing Department (MDRD), where equipment sterilization occurs.

Once humidity levels returned to normal the CKHA reprocessed all equipment. The organization is prioritizing re-processing beginning with emergency procedure kits, and expects to be back to normal operations by end of day today.

This elevation in humidity resulted in nine cases being canceled, all of which will be re-scheduled as soon as possible. CKHA staff contacted patients directly on Sunday to inform them of the situation.

“When confronted with this type of decision, we will always err on the side of patient safety. It is our responsibility to ensure that we have a safe environment and equipment to properly support quality care,” KIrenko said in a media release. “In this case, we’ve made the difficult decision that proceeding with these scheduled surgeries would not be in the best interest of our patients. We will be working closely with our surgeons and their offices to accommodate these procedures as soon as possible and we sincerely apologize for this inconvenience to those impacted by this situation.”


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