Dirty water comes into operating rooms during surgery due to pipe bursting
Image Source: The Kingston Whig-Standard

Canada: After facing an unusual situation, Vancouver General Hospital’s 18 to 20 operation theatres are now back in use. The patients and hospital staff faced trouble due to a burst pipe that caused dirty water leakage. The dirty water made its way to several operating rooms through air vents and through which interrupted surgeries.

The water leakage was first noticed by medical teams while complicated cancer and other surgeries were taking place on October 30. The dripping water from operating rooms and ceilings seems like a compromise with patients’ safety, who are supposed to undergo urgent surgeries. The surgeries that were in progress at the time of water leakage were successfully completed, but 50% of ORs were closed at the time that caused rescheduling and cancellation of around 100 urgent surgeries, including some lifesaving urgent cases.

Officials from Vancouver General Hospital confirmed the news on Wednesday. According to the officials, the mishappening that affected nearly 100 urgent cases took place during construction work on the hospital’s third floor which led to the pipe bursting and dirty water leakage in multiple operating rooms and ceilings. Due to pipe bursting, the water was leaking through a mechanical subfloor which is built above all the operation rooms, Jim Pattison Pavilion’s second floor.

The dirty water then made its way to light and ventilation shafts into all the operation rooms. However, the water wasn’t directly dripping onto patients, who were anesthetized for surgeries, but the water dripped fortuitously.

It was around 11 a.m. when multiple ORs (in which some of them ad five hours durations and even longer) were in progress along with several patients in the operation beds. Surgeons and medical experts quickly decided whether it was safe to proceed the operation during water leakage. Surgeons and infection control experts decided it was not safe to continue the surgery in one case due to the water leakage, so the patient was moved to an adjacent room where all-day operations were placed on hold.

In one critical cardiac case, the surgeons continued the operation in the leaking room as the staff covered off the sterile area with plastic.

A spinal surgeon named Dr. Marcel Dvorak, associate medical director at Vancouver Coastal Health, says several operating rooms had “active water” leakage into ORs’ peripheral areas. The hospital staff including nurses joined their hands to overcome this water leakage problem as they used blankets to soaking up the water on to wet floors, the staff also protected tens of millions of dollars worth machines as they sealed equipment with plastic.

As per the recent reports, dehumidifiers are now completely dried out and that new drywall has been installed in the hospital. Dvorak said, “All emergency cases, like trauma, were managed, and that’s saying a lot because 60 percent of our cases are emergencies — like transplants, ruptured aneurysms, cardiac emergencies, spinal cord injuries, etc., which means they are unscheduled.”

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