Today, many surgeries were cancelled because there was no physical space in the hospital for patients to go to after their operations.  The hospital was, for all intents and purposes, FULL.

Hospitals have been inundated with a surge of influenza and other flu like illnesses putting an added strain on the already overcrowded emergency departments.  These patients are taking priority for an inpatient bed over those coming for non-emergent, but much needed surgery.  The scariest part is that flu cases are on the rise and have not yet peaked!

Is this not a crisis?  Patients have taken time off of work to have their surgeries.  Family members have taken time off to care for their loved one.  People have travelled great distances to be there for the operation and help afterwards.  What happens when these surgeries are cancelled?  With already long waiting lists, when will they be rescheduled for?

Patients come to the hospital mentally and physically prepared to have their procedure and some have waited over a year in extreme discomfort.  It is not easy for patients and families to go back to their employers and change their limited “vacation” time to a later date.  Those who have travelled great d
istances may not be able to return to help when the surgery is rescheduled.  Is this not healthcare in crisis?

Doctors have been trying to warn the public for several years now.  Underfunding the healthcare system will negatively impact patients and it is getting worse every year.  At baseline, hospitals are running at or over capacity.   We are at the point where any small disruption in the number of people visiting the emergency department has major repercussions.

This month’s cancellations are due to the winter surge of influenza and norovirus.  Aging infrastructure has caused major disruptions in the delivery of care in the past.  Hospitals, doctors, and nurses are doing everything in their power to limit the compromise to patient care, but we can only do so much.

Perpetual underfunding of healthcare to balance a budget is not the right way to go.  The cost of poor healthcare is much too high and the indirect costs are far reaching.  Healthcare costs money.  Hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare workers need to be funded adequately to deliver the quality healthcare that patients deserve.

Like it or not, Ontario’s healthcare is in crisis!  Just ask anyone who works in healthcare and takes care of patients.

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