St. Boniface hospital to postpone non-urgent surgeries due to flu surge

WINNIPEG — St. Boniface Hospital will be postponing non-urgent and elective surgeries starting next week due to an unprecedented flu season in Winnipeg.

The hospital has seen a sustained high number of emergency visits, inpatient admissions and demand for critical care because of the spike in influenza, the hospital said in a news release Friday evening.

The hospital said starting Monday, Jan. 13, it will begin to postpone some surgeries. Those affected will be contacted directly by the hospital.

“Postponing non-emergency surgeries allows us to increase the number of temporary beds in our hospital and take preventative steps to reduce the impact of the flu,” the news release said. “This decision is being made to ensure that we are able to provide safe and timely care to patients in immediate need of assistance during this flu season.”

The hospital said urgent/emergent cases, elective cancer and cardiac surgeries are prioritized and will still proceed.

The hospital said it is asking for the public’s understanding.

The move from St. Boniface Hospital comes after the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority announced it was facing an unprecedented flu season.

Three separate illnesses: Influenza A and B, and respiratory illnesses all hit the city at once, leaving Winnipeg hospitals unprepared for the influx of patients.

WRHA CEO Vickie Kaminski said compared to last year, the health authority is seeing roughly 120 more patients per day in emergency departments since the surge began on Boxing Day.

Along with postponing surgeries, the WRHA said it would be expediting less-pressing cases to other health authorities in Manitoba.