Manitoba Daily

Friday, January 28, 2022

Doctors are requesting military assistance as Manitoba ICUs reaches a critical capacity

Doctors in Manitoba have requested military assistance as ICUs reach critical capacity.

Key takeaways:

  • Manitoba’s intensive care units are severely overcrowded, prompting a group of doctors to request military assistance.
  • Doctors say that ICU health workers from the Canadian Armed Forces must be called in. 

Intensive care units in Manitoba are severely overcrowded, prompting a group of doctors to call for the military’s intervention and stricter enforcement of public health regulations.

Multiple hospital sources told CBC that the province’s ICUs are under tremendous strain. ICU beds at Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre, St. Boniface Hospital, Grace Hospital, and Brandon’s ICUs are nearly full this weekend.

According to sources, several cardiac surgeries were canceled on Friday. The recovery room at St. Boniface Hospital was closed over the weekend to reassign nurses to the intensive care unit.

“I believe there’s a good chance they’ll have to start sending patients out of province on ventilators again,” said Dr. Dan Roberts, a critical care physician at Health Sciences Centre.

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Roberts, who co-wrote a letter to the province with nine other doctors, claims that ICU capacity cannot be increased.

“They’ve exhausted their options for redeploying personnel to intensive care. Since June, the number of nurses available has decreased significantly due to resignations, retirements, and people who are no longer willing to volunteer, “he stated

“They’re simply exhausted.”

“If poor access to vital health services continues, we can expect many more deaths than those directly caused by COVID-19,” Roberts warned in a letter to the province on Sunday.

According to the letter, the doctors are urging the government to strictly enforce public health orders, including fines and closures, in the run-up to the holidays.

The doctors also advocate mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for children attending in-person school, with some medical exceptions, widespread availability of rapid tests for businesses and schools, and holiday gatherings limited to family members.

Doctors in Manitoba have requested military assistance as ICUs reach critical capacity.   The New York Times
Doctors in Manitoba have requested military assistance as ICUs reach critical capacity. Image from The New York Times

Despite the reality that people are still dying from COVID-19, doctors are drawing attention to those suffering due to the province’s surgical and diagnostic backlog.

Doctors say that ICU health workers from the Canadian Armed Forces must be called in. Once replacements are found, redeployed healthcare workers must return to their surgery, ambulatory care, and diagnostic services.

“We’ve advocated for several key measures to be implemented to reduce the infection rate; we can’t keep having this many cases in our acute care facilities. Everything else is shutting down, and people are dying on surgical waiting lists, “According to Roberts.

According to Doctors Manitoba’s online surgery and diagnostic backlog dashboard, more than 152,000 procedures have been postponed since the start of the pandemic, up from 6,675 procedures in November.

Meanwhile, according to a report released Thursday by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), Manitoba performed approximately 1,900 fewer surgeries per month during the first 16 months of the COVID-19 pandemic than in 2019.

“Over the next four or five years, people will die from colorectal cancers that were not diagnosed in time. Patients with numerous sclerosis who are unable to be evaluated are losing their mobility and independence, which they will never regain because they are unable to access a clinic, “According to Roberts.

The letter was blunt in its criticism of the provincial government’s response to the pandemic, accusing it of “denial and downplaying of the absolute desperation in our hospitals,” according to the letter.

This weekend, Shared Health and the province did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Source: CBC News

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