Surgery postponements entering second week; AHS says to be patient

By CHAT News Today
May 19, 2017 - 5:50pm Updated: May 19, 2017 - 7:33pm


MEDICINE HAT, AB — The water quality issue affecting surgeries at Medicine Hat Regional Hospital will enter its second week on Tuesday, and Alberta Health Services is still no closer to figuring out what is causing the problem.

Alberta Health Services have postponed another 10 surgeries scheduled for Tuesday at the hospital, bringing the total number to 173 since May 9.

AHS says they are working to isolate the cause of the concern, but have still not provided any answer about the water quality issue affecting the ability to reprocess surgical equipment at the hospital.

Katherine Chubbs, chief zone officer for the south zone, says patients who are losing confidence in the organization need to have faith in AHS to solve the problem.

“We ask for patience and we ask for your trust that we’re doing everything we can to solve it,” she said over the phone from Lethbridge. “We’re not the only group who has experienced this – and certainly it isn’t my first time having been through this experience – and it is very tough.

“But, trust that we are engaging the right people, whether it’s in our own organization, our own province and elsewhere, who are experts in this, and are helping us work through this as quickly as we can.”

According to an AHS news release, testing and monitoring of water quality at the hospital is ongoing, with new filters being installed this weekend to flush out pipes. Chubbs say members of the team are meeting all weekend in an attempt to solve the problem.

Chubbs says AHS has resumed some elective surgeries at the hospital, while others are being rescheduled.

CHAT News reached out to Health Minister Sarah Hoffman to ask about the ongoing issue and about people losing faith in the government and AHS to solve the problem. We received a statement from the office, which reads as follows:

“We know this must be stressful for those patients whose elective surgeries are postponed, and we do apologize for the inconvenience. Patient safety is always our top priority. I know that AHS is working diligently to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.”


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