Surgeries postponed, patients relocated due to flood at VG hospital
Published Thursday, September 24, 2015 10:29PM ADT
Last Updated Friday, September 25, 2015 7:24PM ADT
Dozens of patients have been moved, and more than 100 surgeries have been postponed after a flood at the old Victoria General Hospital in Halifax.
When the pipe burst, doctors and nurses started moving patients as water covered the floor.
Nadine Burke was one of 50 patients moved when the Centennial building flooded around 8 p.m. Thursday.
She was getting cancer treatments.
“I never thought in my wildest dreams I would have seen what I (saw) last night,” Burke explains. “When I got on to my floor, alarms were going off; the ceiling was starting to come down, like the tiles.”
The Nova Scotia Health Authority says the flooding is affecting three floors, including the intensive care unit, oncology and palliative care.
“They’re varying issues for all of those patients, but when they come to our QEII Health Sciences Centre, they’re very sick patients,” says Janet Knox, CEO of the Nova Scotia Health Authority.
Eric Theriault was visiting his mother-in-law last night.
He says workers tried to use buckets to clean up.
“Just to get rid of the water,” he adds. “But you can’t get rid of an ocean as it’s coming through, right.”
In addition to the patients that had to be moved, 106 surgeries have already been postponed, and Janet Knox says it will take weeks, maybe months, to repair the damage caused by the flood.
“So we’re in for another long haul in terms of how we provide services to the people who need them here,” she says.
The health authority says no one was injured and no equipment damaged, but damage to the facility is significant.
“Fair to say,” explains Knox. “A great deal of water comes down from an open pipe in very short order.”
Both patients and their family members say enough is enough.
“It’s time to shut the doors,” says Burke.
“It don’t give you much faith in coming here, I’ll tell you,” adds Donnie Slaunwhite, husband of a patient.
“I think this could be the end of it,” says Nancy Risser, daughter of a patient. “Could be the nail right, I think we need a new hospital.”
Nova Scotia Health Minister Leo Glavine says it’s possible the VG could be sold or renovated for another use rather than demolished.
“It is what it is,” says Glavine. “A building that has aged very quickly, has many deficiencies now, and that’s a building that won’tbe part of the QEII’s future.”
Glavine couldn’t say when health-care work would end at the VG site.
Dave Wilson, NDP health critic and former health minister, says his government had a five- to10-year plan in place in 2011 that would have seen the Centennial building demolished, with an expansion of the Infirmary.
“The importance is that the new government should have continued on with the work that’s involved in replacing the hospital,” adds Wilson.
The health minister says work at the Dartmouth General needs to be completed before the Centennial is dealt with, but there’s no timeline on when that could be finished.
Glavine says he plans to see the damage at the VG site next week.
While there are lots of complaints about the building itself, there’s also a great deal of praise for the people who work inside it.
“The staff was absolutely amazing,” says Nancy Risser. “They take good care of their patients.”
Patients whose surgeries have been postponed should be notified soon.They’re also encouraged to call their physicians.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kayla Hounsell and Matt Woodman.