‘Pretty upsetting’: Six-month-old Colwood baby’s heart surgery cancelled last minute

'Pretty upsetting': Six-month-old Colwood baby's heart surgery cancelled last minute

As he grows, six-month-old Nash’s heart won’t be able to pump enough oxygen to his body due to a congenital heart defect.

The critical surgery he needs, scheduled for Nov. 16 at Vancouver’s BC Children’s Hospital, was cancelled at the last minute, according to his parents.

Mom Chelsea Lee and her husband, Rob Veenhof, live in Colwood and received the news just hours before Nash’s scheduled surgery.

“My husband and I, well, we remained calm on the call, of course. My heart sank a little bit. It was pretty upsetting,” Lee told CHEK News.

Veenhof is a teacher, and because any illness would be catastrophic to Nash’s health, the entire family is isolating at home until a new date for surgery becomes available at the only hospital that can perform the operation.

“They had explained to us that they may have beds but not staff to actually resource the care that is required in ICU. And because of RSV right now becoming quite high, a lot of those beds and resources are being taken up,” Lee said.

At the children’s hospital, the number of youth admitted to intensive care continues to climb, straining the system and resulting in longer wait times.

It’s something BC Liberal’s Health Critic Shirley Bond finds unacceptable.

“This isn’t a system you can fix overnight,” Bond said from her constituency in Prince George.

“We’ve been calling on this government to do it since they were elected…We recently (saw) the first signs of a health-human resources strategy, and now British Columbians are paying the price for the lack of action that took place.”

Nash’s parents have been told the surgery could happen anytime between now and the new year, but until they get the call to return to Vancouver, they continue to wait by the phone.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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