An autoclave at Windsor Regional Hospital are pictured on June 23, 2016. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Hospital’s ‘Plan B’ For Ouellette Campus Surgeries

Elective surgeries are being transferred from Windsor Regional Hospital’s Ouellette Campus to the Met Campus as officials continue to work to fix a problem with its sterilization system.

CEO David Musyj says the hospital had hoped to have a resolution over the weekend, but “on Saturday morning when we were doing our final testing, we were finding that we were still getting some of this staining and scorching. [It was] not as prominent as before, but it was still there.”

The trouble, hospital officials believe, is in the steam lines between the boiler at Ouellette Campus to the autoclave where instruments for surgery are sterilized. The building is aging, and so are those lines. Unfortunately, Musyj says simply replacing them isn’t so simple.

“Structurally, it’s about a 200ft. run and it goes through the building. Just even contemplating that with the existing infrastructure would be difficult, let alone expensive.”

So, the hospital has had to move to ‘Plan B’.

Musyj says as many surgeries as possible will be performed at the Met Campus. He says rooms, surgical bays and operating hours in the operating rooms have been added. Elective surgeries cancelled since the problem first closed down the operating rooms at Ouellette last week are getting priority, but Musyj says he’s not sure how many procedures will be affected. He says doctors know what operations they have to perform Tuesday and Wednesday, and are working on the list for later in the week.

The hospital is no longer taking trauma cases from the region. Those cases are being transferred to hospitals in Toronto and Detroit.

Company, Steripro will pick up surgical instruments twice daily at Ouellette Campus for sterilization in Toronto. Musyj says Windsor Regional is also working to find a temperature-controlled truck that can take other instruments to the Met campus. A standalone steaming unit is also up and running at Ouellette.

Meanwhile, Musyj admits the cost of the backup plan is adding up.

“It’s middle six-figures for a couple of weeks, approaching seven figures.”

He also warns patients and their families a solution may not be quick to come. Consulting with other hospitals across Ontario that have had similar issues, along with experts across Canada and internationally, Musyj says it could be months before operations return to normal at the hospital’s Ouellette Campus.