‘It means pain for her’: Thousands of non-urgent surgeries postponed due to COVID-19

'It means pain for her': Thousands of non-urgent surgeries postponed due to COVID-19
WatchHundreds of people across Vancouver Island have had their non-urgent surgeries postponed to open up space for COVID-19 patients. April Lawrence reports.

Debbie England is offering to loan cars on her Colwood lot for free to any health care or front line workers who need one but England, who walks with a noticeable limp, is in need of medical care herself.

“It’s always painful but you just learn to live with it,” she said.

England injured her knee kickboxing last summer. After waiting nearly a year, she’s among thousands on Vancouver Island who have now had their surgeries postponed.

“They said at this point in time they’re not rescheduling anything and they have no idea when they will be starting to reschedule,” England said.

READ MORE: Two COVID-19 deaths reported on Vancouver Island, first ones in Island Health

In mid-March Health Minister Adrian Dix announced all non-urgent surgeries in B.C. would be postponed to create more space for a potential influx of COVID-19 patients.

In Island Health, there would normally be about 2,300 non-urgent surgeries over a four week period. Those have now all been postponed indefinitely.

It has meant that there are currently more than 4,000 empty acute care beds at hospitals across the province but it also means patients like Courtenay’s four-year-old Vivienne Denton are left waiting in pain.

“Her one tooth is getting bad so she’s getting Advil and Tylenol every four hours to maintain a normal pain level,” said Vivienne’s mom Arron Denton.

Vivienne was scheduled for dental surgery at the Comox Valley hospital April 3 but now they aren’t sure when she’ll get in.

“They said they’d put us on a waitlist and give us a call when they start doing surgeries again, no timeline, we’re just going to resume when we can,” said Denton.

“The hospital doesn’t want to put us at risk or put themselves at risk by allowing people who could contract this to come into the hospital but as a parent whose child is suffering in pain it’s extremely frustrating.”

There’s no question it will be a difficult wait for the thousands of people in the same situation but many seem to understand why.

“I totally understand where we’re going to be with this COVID-19 are these beds going to be required here in Victoria? Who knows at this point, so yes I’m compassionate with that,” said England.

In his press conference Thursday, Adrian Dix said they are working on a plan for resuming surgeries when they can and that private clinics will be part of that plan.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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