Five of the nine operating rooms at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre are temporarily closed because of flood damage.
A pipe burst March 1, while crews were building new operating rooms above them.
Emergency and urgent surgeries have continued unaffected, but at least 170 elective procedures have been rescheduled – including some cancer-related surgeries.
Dr. Sean Gregg said before the flood, the hospital was already overwhelmed and struggling with long waits.
Red Deer hospital flood damage more extensive than first thought
“That was the background,” Gregg said. “Then an inadequate resource became a catastrophe.”
Crews are working around the clock to finish the repairs but it’s a difficult wait for patients like Wesley Stewart.
Stewart waited three months for a procedure to find out if he has cancer but it’s been postponed twice.
“When you find out that you do need surgery and then to find out it’s so prolonged after that – that’s frustrating,” Stewart said.
To ease the backlog, the hospital is keeping one operating room open late each day.
Other elective surgeries are being diverted to nearby communities of Innisfail and Olds.
READ MORE: Red Deer hospital flood damage more extensive than first thought
Health officials apologize for the impact on patients’ lives.
“Life or death surgeries are continuing to go forward – it’s the elective ones [that are delayed],” Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said. “That’s very frustrating, but safety is going to be the number one driver and we’re going to make sure those O.R.’s are safe and clean before they get back up.”
All operating rooms are expected to reopen by the third week of April.