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Cancelled Surgeries
Cynthia Mac
3575 Posts

I've been under the impression that even during lockdowns, cancer surgeries are supposed to be proceeding, however there was a clip on the news two nights ago where a young woman said her endometrial cancer surgery has been cancelled, and this morning, I learned of a close relative whose Jan. 17 bladder surgery has been cancelled. (in Ontario)

I've suggested to my relative to get back to the doctor who did the test and recommended the surgery to go back to that individual and ask a few more pointed questions. (squeaky wheel and all that)

These two instances have made me wonder if other cancer patients or potential cancer patients are having similar experiences, and have created this discussion for people to respond.

8 Replies
Skye2
66 Posts

Hi @Cynthia Mac

As I’m sure you are aware in Ontario, Doug Ford has put elective surgeries on hold, with only urgent and emergency surgeries going ahead. I also saw an email from the CEO of my hospital saying cancer and other critical surgeries will be triaged by the departments. I also know there are staffing issues in most hospitals, on every unit, with sick calls in the OR’s as well.

Unfortunately, even some cancer surgeries can be considered “less urgent” if they can wait, and if your relative’s bladder surgery was going to need an ICU bed, it might be delayed/postponed until Doug Ford lessens the restrictions in the hospitals. (I’m currently off work with my cancer, as an OR nurse, but keep in touch with friends at work). The OR’s we’re getting ready to ramp back up after Christmas when Ford made the announcement to shut everything down again.

JustJan
1291 Posts

@Cynthia Mac I think the cancellation of surgeries may depend where you live in the province and what resources are available. Like @Skye2 said, resources are scarce and just trying to keep the hospital running on a daily basis is a challenge. I'm sure surgeries are being triaged and if it is a day surgery procedure, may move ahead if staff resources are available. If you need a bed (regular or ICU) post-op that is where the challenges lie. I will say after working 30 years in the hospital, every year during flu season surgeries are cancelled as there are no beds available. Unfortunately, this is on a much larger scale. I just hope we see the end of this soon.

Cynthia Mac
3575 Posts

Thanks @JustJan and @Skye2 . There must be some urgency, as I've learned this afternoon that they're trying to get the surgery done at another, larger hospital in the area. (One which reported yesterday about 23 staff off in either isolation or active disease, so I hear you, Jan, about the staff shortages.)

He has other health issues as well, and might well be a candidate for ICU, but hopefully the doctors will continue to try and get him scheduled.

Skye2
66 Posts
Cynthia Mac
Hi Cynthia,
…if he’s urgent enough, they’ll get him in. He’ll be prioritized and moved up the list. And if he can’t be done as an “urgent elective”, ie/ cancer cases that can’t wait, they’ll simply put him on the “emergency list”, where he’ll be done as soon as an OR becomes available, day or night.
Sue
RBION
58 Posts

The points about urgency and the need for a bed post op make sense. My husband received a call today saying they'll be putting a stent in his liver bile duct this week. It's considered day surgery and is a health risk if they don't fix the problem sooner than later.

Skye2
66 Posts
…it’s everything from the urgency of patient condition (which trumps all other factors) - if patient condition deteriorates, the patient gets bumped up the list regardless of everything else…they’ll find the staff, an empty OR and a post op bed.
I heard from my coworkers that they were going to try and go full blast on the day surgery cases since those patients don’t take up a hospital bed, but it’s a moot point now that Doug Ford has put all the elective cases on hold for 3 weeks.🤷‍♀️
When I went off sick last April, our nurses were already working 10, 12, 16 hours straight - whatever they were willing to work to keep the OR’s open, and all those nurses who work 7 “evenings” (in a row), would typically be “on call” for nights as the call back team if they were needed to open another OR for emergencies at least 3 or 4 out of those 7 shifts…it’s brutal…. I’ll be going back when my radiation is done. (We work 8 hour shifts in our OR, but often work “7 shifts” in a row, especially when working evenings or nights - you do them all together).

@Cynthia Mac Surgery cancellations have been happening for quite a while. To compensate for the surgery cancellations, some people who would normally have chemo after their surgery are receiving chemo first. Since this is different than the usual protocol, it will be interesting (and not the kind of interest I really want to have) to see if there are any differences in the prognosis for patients with this new protocol compared to the usual one.

I was fortunate to have some surgery just before the start of the pandemic in 2020; otherwise, I believe it would have been cancelled/postponed.

cancertakesflight

Cynthia Mac
3575 Posts

Wow, @Skye2 I’m applauding all the health care staff (STILL) - I had SO much respect for my Dads cancer care team, and then there were the ones who helped all of us through his palliative care phase that last month.

I know were dealing with exceptional times (STILL), but I would hope that no matter how old you are, if you have a known mass on your bladder and are still passing blood, that would be fairly urgent.

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