East Kootenay Regional Hospital in Cranbrook. Google maps photo

EKRH operating rooms re-open after dust causes temporary closure

A breach in ventilation during pre-construction work caused the re-scheduling of 24 elective surgeries

The Operating Rooms at East Kootenay Regional Hospital (EKRH) are back up and running after being closed to elective surgeries for four days this week.

Terry Domin, Interior Health’s executive director of clinical operations for the East Kootenay, explained that the OR rooms were closed from Sunday, February 23, 2020 at 6p.m. until 3p.m. on Wednesday, February 26, 2020.

“We closed the rooms to elective surgeries, but were still able to be used for life-saving emergencies only,” Domin explained. “There was dust found in an OR room on Sunday, which got in through a breach in ventilation that was put up during pre-construction in the urology lab.”

She says that no construction had ever taken place prior to the dust being found.

“No construction had taken place, it was simply in the pre-construction phase. One of the ventilation joints was improperly sealed. As soon as the breach was found, it was mitigated within minutes and there’s no opportunity for this to happen again. Time was then needed for the particulate to settle,” said Domin, adding that the dust was not harmful. “It was a naturally occurring environmental particulate.”

Two-dozen elective surgeries were re-scheduled during the closure. Domin says although it was a small leak, it had a big impact. Thankfully, other hospitals and clinics in the area were able to help out.

“We had to postpone 24 cases, but we have a fully functioning action plan to re-schedule those surgeries,” said Dolman. “All of the patients were notified and we’re working with their surgeons to get everyone scheduled in as soon as possible.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their patience during this time. I’d also like to acknowledge all of the East Kootenay sites that came together while support was needed at the East Kootenay Regional Hospital. I’d also like to apologize to the patients for the inconvenience during this time.”

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