TOP News

World: Canada postpones, cancels thousands of medical procedures amid COVID

National Guard steps in to alleviate pressure on hospital overwhelmed by Omicron wave

  National Guard steps in to alleviate pressure on hospital overwhelmed by Omicron wave An incoming tide of patients is slowly drowning UMass Memorial Medical Center, and the US military's National Guard is working to plug the gaps. In wave after daily wave, the emergency crews pull up to the ambulance bay, dropping off patients for which there is no room. © Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images A soldier transports a patient at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Massachusetts on December 30, 2021. "It's just the perfect storm for a nightmare here in the emergency department," says Dr. Eric Dickson, the CEO of the hospital and an emergency physician.

Veronica Roy was supposed to go to the hospital for a hysterectomy at the end of January.

People line up to enter a COVID-19 vaccination clinic with a torch of the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics painted on the staircase in Montreal, Jan. 6, 2022. © Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP

People line up to enter a COVID-19 vaccination clinic with a torch of the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics painted on the staircase in Montreal, Jan. 6, 2022.

Her doctor arranged the surgery last fall after discovering several large tumors on her uterus that have caused years of excruciating pain.

Related: This Canadian company is betting big on the ‘psychedelic renaissance’

“When you're in a situation like mine where there's a degenerative condition with chronic pain and a severe impact on my quality of life, it’s not elective, it’s urgent,” said Roy, 35, an arts administrator in Ottawa, Ontario.

How long is Alphonso Davies out? Canada, Bayern Munich star diagnosed with myocarditis after COVID-19 bout

  How long is Alphonso Davies out? Canada, Bayern Munich star diagnosed with myocarditis after COVID-19 bout The Canadian star will miss out on key World Cup qualifiers at the end of January due to a mild case of myocarditis that was diagnosed by Bayern Munich in the wake of a bout with COVID-19.It's a diagnosis that will keep the Canada international out of Bayern's upcoming matches, and he'll also be forced to miss Canada's three World Cup qualifying matches set for the end of January.

But last week, her doctor’s office called to say that urgent or not, her surgery would be postponed indefinitely.

“It was a very short, and to-the-point phone call, and there are no next steps at this time,” she said.

Roy is one of tens of thousands of Canadians who’ve had surgeries and medical procedures postponed or canceled this month because of the pandemic. The number of COVID-19 cases has skyrocketed across Canada since omicron took hold in December.

Provincial governments in Ontario and Quebec said that in order to keep beds open for COVID-19 patients, only emergency procedures should go ahead.

“We’ve started to see an alarming number of new hospital admissions now with triple-digit admissions every single day. If we don’t do everything possible to get this under control, the results could be catastrophic.”

Passengers stuck at sea after Norwegian cancels cruise mid-voyage

  Passengers stuck at sea after Norwegian cancels cruise mid-voyage Passengers aboard a Norwegian cruise ship are stuck at sea this week after the cruise line decided to cancel the cruise mid-voyage due to COVID-19 concerns. © Getty Passengers stuck at sea after Norwegian cancels cruise mid-voyage Aimee Focaraccio, who boarded a 10-day cruise on the Norwegian Gem from New York, told USA Today that she was notified on Thursday that the cruise would be canceled due to issues related to COVID-19, but was not provided an early return date.

Doug Ford, Ontario premier

“We’ve started to see an alarming number of new hospital admissions now with triple-digit admissions every single day,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford. “If we don’t do everything possible to get this under control, the results could be catastrophic.”

Celine Dion Cancels Remaining 2022 U.S. and Canadian Tour Dates

  Celine Dion Cancels Remaining 2022 U.S. and Canadian Tour Dates Celine Dion’s Courage World Tour has ended for U.S. and Canadian fans. On Saturday, the songstress shared that her recovery after being treated for severe and persistent muscle spasms is taking longer than expected. She is canceling her remaining tour dates, from March 9 to April 22, for the North American leg of global tour. More from The Hollywood ReporterHow 'The Eternals' Score Captured the Sound of Space, Love and Its DeviantsHollywood Awards Shows and International Events Canceled Amid Omicron SurgeSinead O'Connor's 17-Year-Old Son Has Died After Being Reported Missing “I was really hoping that I’d be good to go by now, but I suppose I just have to

Under Canada’s publicly funded health care system, provincial governments pay for all hospital procedures considered to be medically necessary. But many experts say the hospital system is stretched to the breaking point, and that the cancelations underline how fragile the system is.

Related: Montréal Massacre anniversary: The media must play a key role in fighting femicide

“When you hit the point of winding down surgical services across the province, for example, it's acknowledging the fact that as a system, we are on the brink for capacity,” said Dr. Fahad Razak, an internist and a member of Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table.

Who Will Become the First Woman to Serve as an NHL GM?

  Who Will Become the First Woman to Serve as an NHL GM? A day will come in the National Hockey League when a woman is named general manager of a franchise. Ian Kennedy breaks down 20 candidates that have the credentials to serve as an NHL GM one day. © Provided by Hockey News on Sports Illustrated Courtesy of Meghan Chayka A day will come in the National Hockey League when a woman is named general manager of a franchise. With the firing of two GMs- Montreal’s Marc Bergevin and Vancouver’s Jim Benning - already this season, women were in the conversation. Being in the conversation however, isn’t enough.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Canada has fewer hospital beds per capita than almost any other industrialized country. Administrators cut beds over the years to account for the fact that more procedures are done on an outpatient basis.

But Razak said the cuts went too far. Even before the pandemic, hospitals were often overflowing with patients.

“Because of lack of resources, they ended up being cared for in the hallways or in atypical spaces like a converted closet because we just didn't have the physical capacity to provide rooms for their care.”

Dr. Fahad Razak, internist, member of Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table

“Because of lack of resources, they ended up being cared for in the hallways or in atypical spaces like a converted closet because we just didn't have the physical capacity to provide rooms for their care,” he said.

Staffing shortages have exacerbated the problem. In Quebec, more than 20,000 staff were absent in mid-January because of COVID-19.

At the downtown Toronto hospital where Razak works, about 7% of doctors and staff are away because of COVID-19.

Biden presidency, winter storm woes, Sundance Film Festival: 5 things to know Thursday

  Biden presidency, winter storm woes, Sundance Film Festival: 5 things to know Thursday President Biden is under siege as he ends first year of his presidency, another winter storm will affect millions and more news to start your Thursday.Start the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

As a short-term solution, Ontario’s government said this week it will fast-track licensing and hire up to 1,000 foreign-trained nurses who aren’t yet qualified to work in Canada but who could help fill the gap.

Related: Canada promised to resettle 40,000 Afghans. Many are still waiting for answers.

Dr. Stephen Archer, a cardiologist at Kingston General Hospital in eastern Ontario, said he’s confident that COVID-19 patients will get the care they need.

But he said he and other specialists at his hospital have had to delay procedures for dozens of other people who had already been waiting too long.

“The people that are my elective cases waiting are people with chest pain, positive stress tests. They're very symptomatic, and normally, they'd wait two weeks for an outpatient angiogram. Now, they're waiting two months, and I really can't guarantee their safety during that waiting period,” he said.

Roy said doctors predict her condition will keep deteriorating if she doesn’t get her surgery. She has already given up her work as a touring burlesque dancer and storyteller to cope with the pain.

She said she’s now questioning the government’s commitment to providing quality health care for all Canadians.

“It's kind of a mix of sadness and anger. Just white-hot anger toward the medical system in Ontario. They've had two years of this pandemic to improve the system that was overcapacity before the pandemic, and they didn’t,” she said.

However, she said she still believes that Canada’s publicly funded system is better than the private system in the United States.

Alphonso Davies watches Canada win over Honduras on Twitch, celebrates Jonathan David goal like a fan .
It's not often fans have access to their favorite athletes like Alphonso Davies afforded Canada fans during the team's 2-0 win over Honduras in World Cup qualifying.The Bayern Munich right back is unavailable indefinitely due to "mild" myocarditis that developed as a result of a recent bout with COVID-19. That left him off the squad for this week's three World Cup qualifiers, and Canada was without its most recognizable star.

See also