Sewage backup shuts down surgeries at Victoria General Hospital

Victoria General Hospital was dealing with a sewage backup that temporarily shut down two surgical units on Wednesday.

The backup happened about 10:30 a.m. Sewage flowed into two of 10 day surgical operating rooms, used for elective surgeries, and one empty patient room.

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That resulted in all elective surgeries being placed on hold for two hours until the situation was investigated and controlled, said Island Health spokeswoman Cheryl Bloxham.

The two affected rooms are being thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.

They are scheduled back in service today.

Two surgeries had to be rescheduled while the rest were carried out in available operating rooms, Bloxham said.

No equipment was damaged and the incident is being characterized as minimal.

On July 10, 2018, a major flood at Victoria General Hospital forced the Island’s trauma centre to divert 12 surgeries to Royal Jubilee Hospital.

Mark Blandford, director of clinical operations at Victoria General Hospital, called it “a full-on gushing, kind of fire-hydrant type flood” that took 15 to 20 minutes to stop.

The 2018 flood was caused by a burst handwashing sink. It caused extensive damage to walls and floors.

Eight rooms — four delivery rooms, two labour and delivery operating rooms dedicated to caesarean sections and two general surgery operating rooms — were affected.

At the time, Blandford said that despite routine maintenance, Victoria General Hospital was a 35-year-old building with 35-year-old plumbing and something undetected can be expected to give now and then.

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