Manitoba’s intensive care units are critically short of space, prompting a group of medics to call for the military to be called up and for tighter enforcement of public health restrictions.
Several hospital sources told CBC that intensive care units across the province are under tremendous pressure, with intensive care unit beds at the Winnipeg Health Sciences Center, St. Boniface Hospital and the Hospital. Grace as well as those of Brandon being almost full this weekend.
The sources say several heart surgeries were canceled on Friday and the recovery room at St-Boniface Hospital was closed over the weekend so nurses could be redeployed to intensive care.
“I think there is no doubt that they are going to have to start sending patients out of the province again on ventilators,” said Dr. Dan Roberts, intensive care physician at the Health Sciences Center.
Roberts, who wrote a letter to the province signed by nine other doctors in the province, says intensive care capacity cannot be increased.
“They are at the end of their capacity to redeploy staff to intensive care. The supply of nurses has decreased considerably since June due to resignations, retirements and people are simply no longer volunteering,” did he declare.
“They’re just broiled.”
In Sunday’s letter to the province, Roberts warned: âIf the lack of access to vital health services is to continue, we can expect many more deaths than those caused directly by COVID-19. “
As the holidays approach, doctors call on the government to strictly enforce public health orders using fines and closures, the letter said.
Doctors are also calling for mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for children attending school in person, with some medical exemptions; the generalization of rapid tests to businesses and schools; and so that holiday gatherings are limited to family members.
While people continue to die from COVID-19, doctors are also calling attention to those suffering due to a surgical and diagnostic backlog in the province.
Doctors say healthcare workers in Canadian Armed Forces intensive care units must be called in, and redeployed healthcare workers must return to their surgical, outpatient and diagnostic services once replacements are made. will be available.
“We have advocated for some key measures that need to be implemented in order to reduce this rate of infection, we cannot continue to have this level of cases entering our acute care facilities. It shuts down everything else and people are dying … surgical waiting lists, “said Roberts.
Doctors Manitoba’s online Surgery and Diagnosis Backlog Dashboard shows that there are more than 152,000 procedures deferred since the start of the pandemic, an increase of 6,675 procedures from November.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) released a report on Thursday that in the first 16 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Manitoba performed about 1,900 fewer surgeries per month than in 2019.
âOver the next four or five years, people are going to die because their colorectal cancers were not diagnosed on time. There are multiple sclerosis patients who can’t be evaluated and who lose their mobility and independence, and they don’t get it back because they can’t get to a clinic, âsaid Roberts.
The letter did not mince words in its criticism of the province’s response to the pandemic, accusing the government of “denying and downplaying the absolute desperation in our hospitals,” the letter read.
Several requests for comment to Shared Health and the province over the weekend went unanswered.
Read the letter to the Government of Manitoba, written by Dr. Dan Roberts and signed by nine other physicians: