May 04, 2020

By Jane Brown

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University Health Network’s surgeon-in-chief says the time is now to catch up on surgeries delayed because of COVID-19.

Dr. Shaf Keshavjee told Libby Znaimer, the decision to start up again “is going to require courage, to say we’re going to have to operate and how can we operate while we still preserve some system capacity for COVID. So our plan will be that we can ramp up surgery knowing that we can stop again if we have to, if there’s a second surge. But we can’t delay surgery much longer.”

Dr. Keshavjee says he and his colleagues are working on a provincial guide for hospitals to decide how to resume elective surgeries and manage them in a responsible way.

Listen to Libby Znaimer’s full interview on the Zoomer Week in Review by clicking here.

We learned last week that 35 people have likely died because of delayed cardiac surgeries.

The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) released a new report Tuesday that looks at hospital capacity and health care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To free up beds, Ontario’s hospitals have cancelled 52,700 surgeries since March 15, and are delaying 12,200 additional surgeries each week that operation rooms remain idle.

The FAO report estimates that cancelling elective surgeries and other steps taken to preserve hospital capacity for coronavirus patients freed up 585 critical care spaces.

The Ministry of Health also infused the system with more money to make more hospital beds available and took stringent measures to control community spread of COVID-19.

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