February 17th, 2015
Click here for an inside look at some of the flooding that occurred at St. Mary’s on Sunday, February 8, as well as recent media coverage.
Flood Update From Tuesday, February 17 (Day 10)
Tuesday, February 17 (KITCHENER) – Today St. Mary’s General Hospital has resumed surgery and outpatient procedures. This follows major flooding due to a water main break on Sunday, February 8, which affected many areas of the hospital that are critical to providing safe access to surgery and other patient procedures. Inpatient care was not significantly affected during this period.
“We are delighted to be able to resume full services today at 8:00 a.m. due to the extraordinary efforts and long hours of hard work by our staff, physicians, and volunteers,” said St. Mary’s President Don Shilton. “Full restoration of damaged areas of the hospital will take many more weeks, but this is a key milestone in our recovery.”
“We appreciate that the disruption, delays and uncertainty since the February 8 flood were stressful for patients and families. We owe a great debt to our community for the cooperation and understanding shown to us during this challenging time.”
St. Mary’s and local surgeon’s offices worked throughout last week to contact more than 400 patients whose elective surgeries were cancelled due to the flood. Anyone who has a procedure booked for today, February 17, and who hasn’t received a call from their surgeon’s office, should prepare as instructed and arrive at the time they were given.
Patients are also asked to contact their surgeon’s office with any questions about a booked or rescheduled procedure. In order to re-book procedures as quickly as possible at St. Mary’s, extra hours have been added to the operating room schedule and time will be made available during March break, when most of the operating rooms traditionally slow down.
Patients and families are advised that while operations of three of the four elevators servicing the main hospital were restored last week, the two elevators in the main lobby to the second floor operating rooms continue to be out of service until at least February 23. Volunteers will be available in the main lobby to assist patients and families who need to get to the second floor operating rooms.
Some patient services disrupted by the flood were restored earlier last week. In the Cardiac Catheterization Labs, where angiograms and angioplasty are performed, many procedures delayed at the start of last week have already been completed. The Code STEMI program, for emergency heart attack interventions, was re-started on February 11.
Inpatient units are open for visitors from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily. The basement cafeteria and Subway remain closed for approximately two more weeks. Tim Hortons in the lobby is open for business.
Updates will continue to be posted as they are available at www.smgh.ca. A damage estimate from the flood is not yet known.
“St. Mary’s could not have achieved this major recovery of services in such a relatively short period of time without the assistance of many individuals, organizations, contractors, partner hospitals, the City of Kitchener, Waterloo Region EMS and other community supporters,” said Mr. Shilton. “Through this unfortunate event, we have been reminded of the devotion of our staff, physician and volunteers to our patients and families and the generous spirit of our great community.”
In the early morning hours of February 8, a watermain which supplies fresh water to St. Mary’s burst near the loading dock at the rear of the hospital. Approximately five feet of water pooled in the loading dock area behind the hospital, flooding the hospital’s basement where many services are located, resulting in up to 20 centimetres of standing water in spots.
These services included:
- Sterile Processing – (cleaning and sterilization of surgical instruments and reusable supplies). Resumed operation Saturday, February 14.
- Pharmacy – Relocated in the building February 11.
- Stores – (houses supplies and equipment). Resumed operation February 17.
- Dietary – (inpatient meals). Resumed operation February 17.
- Cafeteria/Subway – Closed for approximately two more weeks.
- Elevators – Three of four elevators to the hospital tower restored February 11. Two elevators in main lobby remain out of service. More than 42,000 litres of water was pumped out of the elevator shafts alone.
The impact to patient services included:
- Closure of operating rooms for elective procedures. Postponement of more than 400 patient surgeries due to lack of access to surgical instruments and supplies
- Diversion of some emergency surgery to other centres
- Closure of the Cardiac Cath Lab and Code STEMI (emergency heart attack) programs from February 8 to February 11.
- Visitor restrictions from February 8 to 12 (with the exception of palliative and critical care)
- Outsourced meals for approximately 150 inpatients daily from February 8 to February 16.
- Closure of the Cafeteria (Subway) and seating area for up to three weeks.
St. Mary’s General Hospital
519-749-6578, ext. 1501
Flood Update from Saturday, February 14 (Day Seven)
- Recovery continuing to proceed well
- The Sterile Processing Department is now operating, and providing machines continue to operate successfully, surgery and outpatient procedures will resume on Tuesday, February 17 at 8:00 a.m. Patients booked for procedures should continue to prepare as normal and arrive at the scheduled time for their procedures, unless they have been advised otherwise by their surgeon’s office.
- Two elevators in main lobby to the second floor are out of service until potentially February 23. Volunteers will be available in the lobby to assist patients heading to the second floor.
- The basement cafeteria and Subway will remain closed for another two weeks. Tim Hortons is open.
- Thank you to the community for your patience and cooperation at this time.
Flood Update from Friday, February 13 (Day Six)
St. Mary’s General Hospital is aiming to restore all patient services, including surgery and outpatient procedures by Tuesday, February 17 at 8:00 a.m. This follows a major flood at the hospital on Sunday, February 8 which affected many areas of the hospital.
Work will continue throughout the weekend to ensure that this is possible and St. Mary’s will confirm the status of these services through our local media, and our website (www.smgh.ca) by early Tuesday morning. Anyone who has a procedure booked for Tuesday, and who hasn’t received a call from their surgeon’s office, should prepare as instructed and arrive at the time they were given.
Some patient services disrupted by the flood have been already restored. The Cardiac Catheterization Labs, where angiograms and angioplasty are performed, and the Code STEMI program, for emergency heart attack interventions were re-started on Wednesday, February 11.
Inpatient units are open for visitors from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily and three of four elevators to the main hospital tower are operating. The two elevators in the main lobby, providing service to the second floor operating room and cafeteria are still out of service.
The basement cafeteria and Subway remain closed for approximately two more weeks. Tim Hortons in the lobby is open for business.
St. Mary’s is grateful to our patients and families for their cooperation and understanding at this challenging time.
Flood Update from Thursday, February 12 (Day Five)
- Recovery proceeding well.
- Aiming for Tuesday morning re-start of surgery.
Flood Update from Wednesday, February 11 (Day Four)
- Three elevators are now in operation in the main hospital tower providing access to all patient floors.
- Visitor restrictions have been lifted. Regular visiting hours have resumed and are from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily.
- Our Cardiac Catheterization Labs (angiograms and angioplasty) and Code STEMIs (emergency acute heart attack intervention) are back in service.
- Surgical procedures remain cancelled for the rest of the week. All patients impacted have been contacted and their appointments will be rescheduled.
- Patient, visitors and staff may call continue to call 519-749-6788 with questions. This line will remain in operation until Friday.
Flood Update from Tuesday, February 10 (Day Three)
St. Mary’s staff, physicians, volunteers and regional partners continue to work diligently as cleanup and restoration is underway following a flood in the early hours of Sunday, February 8, which caused significant damage to the basement. The flood was caused by a main water line burst behind the hospital near the loading dock and Queen’s Blvd.
“Since early Sunday morning, it has been an all hands on deck and teams have been working around the clock to try and get services up and running as soon as possible, as the damage was significant and impacts many departments hospital wide,” said Don Shilton, President, St. Mary’s. “Staff, physicians and volunteers have been incredible. I’m proud of the work being done and the dedication to ensuring our patients continue to receive excellent, safe care during this challenging time.”
After careful consideration, St. Mary’s will be cancelling all elective surgeries for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week. Patients who are scheduled for surgery will be contacted directly and rescheduled for a later date. Emergency surgeries will be performed at other regional or nearby hospitals until further notice. Cancellations are required due to the damage caused in the SPD (sterile processing department) and supplies and equipment storage areas. Some of our supplies and equipment have been contaminated and can no longer be used and restocking is required. The SPD area is essential to clean, sterilize and store necessary equipment and supplies used during surgical procedures. Decisions regarding surgeries scheduled for Tuesday, February 17, will be determined on Friday, February 13.
“We appreciate that this is a stressful time for patients and families, including those who have surgical procedures booked. Unfortunately, due to damage caused by the flooding, we’ve had to cancel surgeries for the rest of the week,” continued Mr. Shilton. “While we regret when we have to cancel surgery, it is being done with patient safety in mind. Our team is working hard and doing everything they can to get our surgical program up and running again as soon as possible.”
“A huge thank you is in order to our patients, their loved ones and the entire community for the support and understanding. We also want to thank Mayor Berry Verbanovic and the City of Kitchener, the Region of Waterloo, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), the Fire Department, Public Utilities, our colleagues at Grand River and Cambridge Memorial Hospitals, Bingemans, and many restoration and repair services,” said Mr. Shilton.
Additional information regarding status of St. Mary’s facilities and services as of Tuesday afternoon:
- Only one elevator remains in operation, while the remaining are being repaired, which remains a priority to get all back up and running safely. It is hoped that this will be complete in the next day or two.
- Visitor restrictions remain in place until further notice. Critical care and palliative care considerations will be made. If loved ones wish to call a patient, they may be reached by calling switchboard at 519-744-3311. With limited elevator access dedicated for patient care and emergency purposes, accessibility and transportation to floors remains a challenge.
- Patient, visitors and staff may call 519-749-6788 with questions.