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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 8, 2010

Elective surgeries cancelled due to equipment failure

New Glasgow, NS – The Pictou County Health Authority has cancelled 21 elective surgery cases following the unexpected failure of four anesthesia machines in the Aberdeen Hospital's operating rooms on Tuesday.

Following an assessment of all existing anesthesia equipment, the health authority is providing coverage for Level 1 emergencies (life or limb) only until tomorrow at 12 noon. During this time, urgent cases will be assessed and sent to the most appropriate site. The health authority is working with other district health authorities to maintain urgent surgery cases. A small number of patients were transferred to other DHAs while the situation was assessed and a contingency plan developed.

Four new anesthesia machines are on site and, beginning tomorrow, will be implemented with an expedited training schedule. Full emergency coverage will be available as of 12 noon tomorrow and ongoing. Full elective surgery (normal operations) will resume effective Tuesday, September 14 at 8:00 a.m.

The 21 elective surgery cases originally scheduled for today and tomorrow will be rebooked as priority cases as quickly as possible.

"We will conduct a process improvement review to determine what we can learn from this experience," said Pat Lee, CEO of the health authority. "It will be an open and transparent process and we will share our lessons learned."

"On behalf of the health authority, I want to apologize to those patients and families whose care was disrupted by this situation," said Lee.

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Contact:Eileen MacIsaac
Public Relations
752-7600, ext. 1124


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