Surgeon sounds the alarm. ‘By far the worst it’s been’: Kelowna doctor says KGH is being hit by wave of surgery cancellations

Photo: BC Orthopaedic Association
Kelowna, BC orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Derek Plausinis

Rob Gibson – Sep 3, 2021 / 2:19 pm |

A Kelowna surgeon has a message for the community and Interior Health.

“This is by far the worst it’s been. I think the public needs to know the very significant challenges our hospital faces.”

Dr. Derek Plausinis, orthopaedic surgeon at Kelowna General Hospital, reached out to Castanet to tell the community that many elective surgeries at KGH have been cancelled and he expects more to be postponed as a direct result of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

“Normally at the hospital, we run 14 operating rooms per day, and for the last three weeks, we’re down to eight. That is going to be the case for next week and maybe for many weeks, who knows.”

Dr. Plausinis says he had been considering coming forward about the issue for more than a week and his decision to come forward days after a protest at KGH is coincidental.

Dr. Plausinis, however, was clear the current stress at KGH is directly related to COVID-19.

“The hospital is now overwhelmed with COVID hospitalizations and it is publicly available that most of those patients are unvaccinated,” he said. 

Castanet has reached out to Interior Health for specifics on the number of elective surgery cancellations and Dr. Plausinis is hopeful they will share more information with the public.

“I would ask IH for more direct, factual communication with the public,” he said. “I think it would help the public understand the numbers and the downstream consequences to our community.”

The BCCDC says there are currently 36 people in the ICU with COVID-19 in the Interior Health region. Prior to the pandemic, the KGH routinely operated at over 100 per cent capacity, leaving very little room for the facility to absorb a surge of patients.

As for Wednesday’s protest at KGH, Dr. Plausinis said the vast majority of doctors and nurses and healthcare providers are disappointed with the protest taking place outside the hospital, “but I think our mayor summed things up quite well.”