When can I expect hospitals to resume elective surgeries?


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47 comments

  1. Bonnie Coulter

    Im in desperate need of my gallbladder being removed in excruciating pain its effecting my mental and physical state

    • Briggs

      We requiring surgery are been discriminated against. We have as much right to be treated as covid patients do. We gave up our right to treatment once. It is unconscionable to think that we can continually be pushed out of the system. Open up covid hospitals like we did for TB. TB didn’t close down the health care system. Yet 60 years later we are allowing covid to close up our hospitals. And health care for that matter. Stop the drama and fix the situation

    • Cheryl

      Bonnie..if the pain persists, go to the ER. I’m sure your surgeon would have told you the same thing.

      • Douglas Hitchlock

        I was scheduled for a knee replacement in 2016 by Dr. Davey. For a number of reasons I had to defer it. Now in a related event I suffered a serious compression fracture. My knee is seriously disabling me and I believe I may need spinal surgery as well. 6 months and still in pain. Can I schedule an appointment???

        • ROB

          3 YEARS 1 HIP IS MODERATE ARTHRITIS THE OTHER IS BONE ON BONE LIFE IS VERY SEDENTARY I TAKE TARADOL ALMOST DAILY MISERY LOVES COMPANY SO TO SPEAK .

  2. Naveed Iqbal

    It’s frustrating and really bad decision to postpone health care scheduled treatments. People are suffering not getting attention and are left with no choice but to suffer more.

    • Cheryl

      I’m with the understanding it was to ensure there were available beds., & the Operating rooms would be available for those who are brought to hospital in emergency situations.

  3. Cindy

    I’ve been waiting a long time for shoulder surgery and I’m might need a replacement. As I work daily and have sleepless nights
    Just wanna be able to live life again

    • Cheryl

      I hear ‘ya, Cindy!!! I’ve been waiting 18 months…at least it has taken me 18 months to get to the point of surgery., & a date set. I saw the Surgeon March 16…had an xray (for pre-op), then met him in the fracture clinic. We discussed the procedure, then he told me that it was highly likely that my surgery would be cancelled. He didn’t say “postponed”..but cancelled. The next day I got a call from his receptionist telling me of the dreaded news..my surgery was cancelled. “But don’t worry..we’ll try to get you back on the list’. If it was expected that the surgery would be cancelled, I fail to understand why I was told to have the pre-op xray. Anyway, it happened.
      The Surgeon told me that if we get the surgery in 3 months…fine, but if it takes 6 months, then ‘we have to start again”. I couldn’t believe my ears. I’m assuming that would mean new CT scans, MRI, etc.etc.
      As you may know, it can take months to get CT scan appointments, same for MRI’s., not to mention the backlog of other people who have been awaiting these tests. My condition is worsening too. I’m not as positive as I was..& now think I’d be lucky to have my surgery before the end of 2020.

  4. Garry

    18 months have I been waiting for hip replacement. Cant walk right cant sleep right. But I’m supposed to go to work and make sure people like Doug ford are looked after financially. Then bam, covid, the who knows when disease rears his head. Canada already has ridiculous wait times for surgeries, canada needs to take a hard look at our leaders and make different decisions at the poles.

    • jodie

      my husband waited a year and a half , then it was cancelled with the promise of a 1 to 2 month wait .He waited another 6 months and it has been cancellled due to covid .He is 48 with a serious heart condition and cannot walk .This is a terrible situation and unfortunately people who desperately need surgery and have waited for so long , will now have to suffer more .2 years and 2 cancellations is a ridiculous amount of time for someone who is suffering greatly to have to wait .

  5. Kathy

    Kathy. If you wait long enough most likely there will be a resurgence of the virus. Further prolonging surgeries. There are operating rooms and wards empty at present. You treat every patient as a possible carrier and use the protective equipment. Surgeries can be cancelled with a quick phone call if need be. If 24 hr pain and the regular use of opioids is not an emergency then what is? In my case the opioids are not working. Taking a toll on my physical and mental health. Plus it would appear from this article that the monitory cost of the epidemic has left insufficient funds to deal with elective surgeries, and a shortage of drugs required for intubation. A lot of uncertainty and unanswerable questions for one of the thousands of suffering people. Operating rooms were supposed to open with phase one. What did we needing surgery here this weekend. Not a thing but problems with doing just that.

    • Cheryl

      I see where you’re coming from, Kathy. Yes, OR’s are sitting empty as are the Surgery wards. My regional health centre is in the process of building a temporary extension to accomodate the second wave of the virus. They’re hoping of course, that the second wave doesn’t happen. In the meantime, people are awaiting surgeries that have been cancelled due to the virus. I’m one of them. Currently, the hospital has 91 empty beds…then there’ll be the new temporary expansion. They’ve got the beds!!!.
      You’re right..operating rooms were supposed to open with phase one.That hasn’t happened. We’re also told that not every area in hospitals are overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients. They are in a completely different area of the hospital. I’ve lost faith in thinking my surgery might take place in the next few months. In fact, I don’t think my surgery will happen in 2020. I think our healthcare system is in many ways…substandard. Sorry to say it…but the length of time it takes to see a specialist…tests, etc.etc. is totally ridiculous. You see the specialist…they book you for a test which takes 2 months to get…then you have to go back to the specialist…that’s another 6-8week wait. He/she wants another test…that takes a few months to get…then another 6-8 week wait to see the specialist yet again. No wonder people have a bad attitude toward our healthcare system. I’m one of them.

      • Kiri

        I don’t undertand why you can’t have designated hospitals for people who need surgeries and the rest for potential Covid patients. Yes I understand it is a serious issue but I’ve had a couple friends go to the hospital recently and they were dead yet the wait time is longer from
        a busy day and the receptionists constantly whisper “it’s so busy” yet they are on their cell phones? Who does that, that seems odd to me. You guys are educated doctors, stand your ground their are so many people with other issues suffering and can potentially die. All lives matter just remember that.

        • Cheryl

          RVH in Barrie has built a ‘portable hospital'(sorry I don’t know the proper terminology) in preparation for a big surge in the Covid-19 (IF it happens). It’s to be approximately 8,000 square feet, with beds, ventilators, etc.etc.etc.Scheduled opening is for June 7. This makes my blood boil,
          as elective surgeries are put on hold..& nobody knows when they’ll resume. Apparently, all non-emergent surgeries won’t begin until June 30, yet someone I know very recently had carpel tunnel surgery & is scheduled for the other wrist to be done in a short period of time.Tell me this is fair…it’s B.S.! Carpel tunnel is NOT emergent in the slightest.

  6. Michael Nolan

    I have not heard much about age related illness, such as arthritis. I believe older people are seen (still) as the least likely to protest and easiest to ignore. Many of us require elective surgery for knees, hips and other arthritis related illnesses. We need to be respected, we need to make some noise, we need to get our quality of life back. Let’s get these surgeries going.

    • Cheryl

      Michael Nolan…OHHH how I hear ‘ya! I do believe the older patients are not treated as equally as those who are younger. The attitude seems to be ‘you’re old now…we need to address the concerns of younger people because they have a number of years left”. My attitude is that everyone deserves equal healthcare…REGARDLESS OF THEIR AGE. We have the right to feel as well as we can, not feeling like sh*t 4 out of the 7 days of the week.

  7. Paul

    We seem to be getting mixed reports on when surgeries “ may “ resume.My hip replacement surgery has been cancelled twice.I was surviving reasonably well until my gym was closed and am unable to walk in the pool or ride the bike.Since March 17 my mobility is getting worse as I have gone from a cane to a walker and am now taking medicinal marijuana for the constant pain.By the time I have my surgery I will probably using a wheelchair.Come on Ford and Elliott get your act together

  8. Valerie Skeete

    I am a senior with atrial fibrillation. Rheumatoid and osteo arthritis. My knee replacement scheduled for March 26th was cancelled at Sunnybrook Holland Orthapedic Centre. I am dealing with bone on bone pain and severe instability. Barely managing pain with Tylenol 3’s. Lack of sleep due to pain is increasing stress levels. Would be really helpful to get some sort of timeline for the rescheduling of these surgeries.

    • Cheryl

      Valerie…I’m sure your Cardiologist has suggested what’s to be done re your surgery? Are you on anticoagulants? If not, I strongly suggest you contact the Cardio…persons with Afib are 3-fold more likely to experience blood clots, and/or strokes because of the afib, not just during,but immediately after the surgery & for months afterwards. PLEASE…check with your doctors!!

  9. Edgar Milson

    You say a lot but you at the same time said nothing. I need a job to pay my bills but it is hard to get a job when you can not read the print on a book. I can not fill in an application.
    Please let me know when elective surgery will resume in Ontario?

  10. Cheryl

    GREAT article! I was scheduled for shoulder replacement to take place April 8/2020. At my pre-surgical appointment with the surgeon on March 16, I was advised then, that very likely the surgery would be cancelled. Yes he used the word cancelled. Also, he said that it takes 3 months for us to get the surgery…fine; but if it takes 6 months, then we have to ‘start again’. It has taken me 18 months to get to the point of surgery…18 months! So if we have to ‘start again’., I would suspect it means new CT scans, xrays, etc? Well it may take a few months to get the CT scan appointment, AND what about the backlog for those tests? I’m in pain…& it’s getting worse. I realise we’re fighting a pandemic & lives are extremely important.By the way, the Surgeon’s secretary told me that they’d ‘try to get me back on the list’..
    I’m becoming less & less hopeful at having my surgery within the year..or it may be longer.

  11. Rhobin Birch

    My problem with this is , people are going to become addicted to pain meds and having to keep having there meds adjusted . After awhile the pain meds stop working , it is not good for long time use . Your going to have a lot of people become addicts. My surgeon wants me to stop taking my morphine , that i been on since February 10 .I had emergency stent put in February 26 . I am on a fast acting Every 4 hrs and long acting one every 12 hrs . I’m trying to ween myself off but I am in extreme pain and the meds he prescribed take three weeks to kick in for relief I guess . I had to call my family Docter to find out how to make it easier to do . The surgeon did not explain how to do it and I’m and lost and in pain from morning to night . My surgery date was suppose to be April 17 to repair hole and remove growth. I have a rare condition that my doctor of 30 years and urologist have never seen . They have only read about in text book . So I feel they don’t know how bad this pain that I’m experiencing really is . All my surgeon said to me is, that he is going to move me up the list to priority because of my chronic pain. Please open up all the surgeries for all the people suffering.

  12. Liz

    This is my concern. As a Senior; If my knee replacement surgery becomes confirmed, but still occurring during this pandemic… What is the level of risk of becoming infected during the process, including 6 weeks of postop rehab?
    Going in for surgery is a risk in itself, but not the life-threatening risk of being infected. I am obviously petrified of contracting COVID-19.

  13. Kathy briggs

    We requiring surgery are been discriminated against. We have as much right to be treated as covid patients do. We gave up our right to treatment once. It is unconscionable to think that we can continually be pushed out of the system. Open up covid hospitals like we did for TB. TB didn’t close down the health care system. Yet 60 years later we are allowing covid to close up our hospitals. And health care for that matter. Stop the drama and fix the situation

    • Cheryl

      I totally agree.I thought the same thing…but then figured I was being mean. Guess I’m not. I do feel as though Covid-19 is taking away our hospitals, & we certainly do have as much rights as covid patients.

  14. Terri Dixon

    This material is dated April 28. Is there any change in rescheduling cataract surgeries?

  15. Lauren

    I just want to thank you for this helpful and insightful article.

    I work for a surgeon… I am her one and only office administrator and my job of trying to manage our surgical waitlist went from challenging to impossible due to COVID-19. Overnight! Since March 15th it seems like the only answer I can give anybody is “I don’t know”. Let me tell you, I am thankful to still be working, but’s awfully upsetting to be in a position to break the heart of patient after patient, day after day. I can hear their disappointment and frustration. I can see the their wait times growing. And I am powerless to do anything about it.

    This is not an easy problem to solve and there will be no quick fix, or overnight solution. I don’t pity the administrators in the ministry (and elsewhere) being faced with these staggering numbers with so few tools at their disposal to correct the problem.

    • Cheryl

      Lauren..how well I understand the position you’re in. When my Surgeon’s admin gal called to tell me my surgery had been cancelled, I was expecting to get that phone call. I had seen the Surgeon March 16, then received her call March 17. It has taken 18 months to get to the point of surgery, only to have it taken away from me. The Admin. gal said to me…”we’ll try to get you back on the list as soon as we can, Cheryl”.
      Surgeon told me..if it takes us 3 months to get back on track, it will be great, but if it takes 6 months, then we have to start over. Holy Hannah!!!…repeat MRI’s???. CT scans??? Xray??? Those tests can take MONTHS to get an appointment. Had I been a patient of an Orthopaedic Surgeon in Toronto, the hospital to which he belongs only has approximately 57days wait time.; at least that’s what it was prior to Covid-19. Where I live..it can take 187 days, but usually the greater percent are done earlier than that.
      This is what you get when you live in an area where your hospital is a “regional health care centre”.

  16. Lydia

    I am in need of knee and hip replacement. Knowing all the back log and cancellations, what is my
    chance if getting a set appointment date going forwards for this year?
    I can hardly walk with my cane, in continuous pain, with no relief even with antinflamatory pills.

    • Cheryl

      Lydia…We’re “led” to believe than Cardiac & Cancer surgeries will take priority. That’s a given. Then Orthopaedic surgery comes next. I too am awaiting surgery…for shoulder replacement. I’ve been waiting 18 months to get to the point of surgery…yes, 18 months…only to be a victim of cancellation.

      • Piera

        It’s May 26th & still waiting to hear from surgeon’s office when is my husband’s lung cancer surgery scheduled for. He’s 77 with COPD, ITLD, heart disease & fluid in right lung. Tumour in left lung is steadily growing. Surgery is his only option due to that he is high risk cause of his multiple lung issues. But here we are feeling alone & abandoned. We have as much right to be treated as covid patients do. When will elective surgery resume??

        • Cheryl

          I’m so sorry to learn of what you’re dealing with, Piera. It sounds to me like your husband’s surgery is NOT elective at all…not at all…it’s EMERGENT. Get on with your GP & have him/her contact the surgeon to get the ball rolling. The clock is ticking…against your husband. Good Luck

  17. Cheryl

    Quite frankly, I think serious consideration to resuming surgeries should take place. There are a lot of people out there who have had their surgery cancelled. I’m one of them. I has taken me 18 months to get to the surgery stage & setting a date for that surgery only to have it cancelled. I was slated for April 8/2020, met with the Surgeon March 16/2020 & he told me at that time, the liklihood of my surgery being cancelled was very high. I was slated to have total shoulder replacement, & as of this writing, my shoulder is worsening. The Surgeon also told me that if we get back on the list in 3 months…great; but if it takes us 6 months, then we ‘have to start over’. WHAT!!??? Would that mean repeat CT scan, MRI? Xray?…those appointments could take MONTHS…which they normally do, but there very likely is a backlog for those tests as well. The hospital in my area is not “loaded” with Covid-19 patients. While it’s true a lot of top doctors are saying there’s a very high liklihood of a second wave of Covid-19..that 2nd wave may not start immediately. I dont have much faith in having my surgery prior to Sept. IF it happens then. There are times when I wish I’d gone to Toronto..the wait time at a specific hospital for my type of surgery is only 57 days…go figure. At that rate, my surgery would be in the past..

  18. Cheryl

    “Doctors are advocating strongly for patients”. Really? Then why are we not hearing anything about it??? I haven’t heard a whisper from my Surgeon’s office since they notified me on March 17/2020 that my surgery for April 8/2020 was cancelled!
    That’s now TWO months since I was advised. I agree with what someone wrote here…there seems to be bias in favour
    of Covid patients. If a hospital has it safe for patients (meaning Covid patients are say in the opposite side of the hospital, & the Emergency Dept. keeps positive & asymptomatic patients apart), as long as that hospital isn’t overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients, surgery should proceed. The operating rooms ARE sitting still. The longer surgeries are on hold, the longer it will take to clear the backlog.

  19. Joan

    It is very sad that Ontario’s medical system is so ineffective. I first visited my doctor in April 2019. After physio, pain pills etc. I finally got a date for knee replacement surgery in April 2020. Now my surgery has been cancelled and I have no rescheduled date. I am now unable to walk. My chiropractor informs me that my tibia has moved and my muscles are strained.
    I used to believe in the Ontario medical system, Canada is not a third world country but it’s medical system is definitely going in the right direction.
    For the past two weeks Oakville Hospital had 2 or 3 Covid patients. Now they have transferred 9 in from somewhere else. When is the hospital system going to realize that surgery is not elective, it is necessary.
    We cannot plan our life what may or may not happen in the future if we cannot deal with the present.

    • Cheryl

      Hi Joan…
      I couldn’t agree with you more! Please read my latest (June 5). I too was to have my surgery April 8, but I was told March 16 that it was cancelled. No further information as to’when” the surgery might take place.
      When my ‘path’ to surgery got started, it was in October/2018 when I had an MRI. Then it was waiting a few months to see the Ortho., then there were needles, see another Dr. for a different needle, which took 6-7 weeks to get the appt., then another 6 weeks to go back to get the needle. Back to the Ortho, but his fracture clinic was full, which meant another 4 weeks.As of this writing, it has taken me nearly 20months …disgusting. I am awakened at night with pain because I’ve tried to move my arm.
      At this rate,I’ll be lucky to have the surgery prior to Christmas…but I won’t wait that long.

  20. Cheryl

    I found out just two days ago, that a person I know had carpel tunnel surgery. She is also scheduled for the other
    wrist to be done within the next two weeks. Since when is carpel tunnel surgery an emergency!!!???? I’m still waiting to
    hear when I might have my surgery which was cancelled on March 16 (surgery was to take place April 8). Also, I’ve had an endoscopy appointment cancelled twice; the 1st one being May 25, which was rescheduled for June 25,then two weeks ago, I received a phone call telling me the June 25 was cancelled. While endoscopic procedures aren’t emergent., I have a fundus gland polyp which is adenomous (the type that can turn to cancer). Endoscopy is done with the patient lying on their left side. The operative shoulder is the left shoulder. I would need to have the endoscopic procedure BEFORE shoulder surgery.
    My biggest complaint here is the carpel tunnel surgery that was done. I feel we’re being lied to a lot…& we can’t seem to get any answers as to when the elective surgeries can begin to take place.

  21. Samantha Lavallee

    Everyone keeps saying we need to reserve supplies in case another flair up happens. “Elective” surgery is postponed or cancelled or not received in time. In order for supplies to be saved for ” COVID-PATIENTS ” WHAT THE ACTUAL F**K!. I was scheduled for a tumor removal and radiation therapy but on March 13th (day of surgery) it got canceled due to covid . So cancer surgery and treatments are bring with held in order for covid patients to get treatment? Does anyone else see a problem with this? Tbh I think this is all bullsh*t and populations control! The government / health officials needs to take their head outta there asses and figure shit out… SO WERE NOT DOING DIAGNOSTIC TESTING FOR POSSIBLE CANCER PATIENTS TO SAVE COVID PATIENTS???
    THIS IS WRONG, HOW DOES KNOWONE REALIZE THIS…

  22. Lindzi

    Hi my question is I schedule a replacement October 2nd of this year So I m wondering will my surgery now be going into the middle of next year or later is there any way of me knowing thank you

  23. Tom Rogers

    As one person waiting for hip surgery we are disgusted with the decision to put on hold elective surgeries in Saskatchewan. The reason given for holding surgeries is insurance against a possible surge. We agree that a surge would require these measures. But the “science” appears wrong. We have not had a surge in the last three months and a surge seems highly unlikely. Saskatchewan is not New York or Toronto. 14000 people waiting for elective surgeries are living in pain and misery while 1 person is in ICU in Saskatchewan. Hospitals should be doing elective surgeries until there are some signs of a surge in Covid cases. A surge would not happen over night, especially in Saskatchewan. The government uses our illness and suffering to show resolve and action when the science does not support these draconian measures.

    • ROB

      I am from Saskatchewan too , one of the 14000 …if that’s what it is. I can’t believe how sedentary I am I sit in the drivers seat while my wife shops I’m tired of tugging the wheel chair out of the mini van so when I do go in I appreciate the scooters the stores let you borrow for in store use I’d steal one but security can run faster than they can go in fact I can limp faster pain all the time doesn’t matter if I’m standing laying down sitting if hurts all the time in fact 3 years now I really don’t know what it’s like to not have pain I’m used to it not complaining but still frustrated . If YouTube showed how to do hip surgery I’d do it myself or get my wife or kids to do it in fact I don’t need a mechanic or any blue collar worker any more I can almost do everything myself so why can’t some doctor show us how it’s done …Maybe some new bearings and shocks from Canadian Tire would work seems like there isn’t other options .

  24. Scott Lang

    I am a retired anesthesiologist. The medical system is under extreme stress. Uncertainty and complexity are givens in medicine but they have been exaggerated in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. The medical system, honestly, was caught unprepared – along with everyone else. For those people who are suffering from delayed surgeries my heart goes out to you. Please understand that your physician remains your advocate and is likely as frustrated as you are. You do have rights even in the midst of this pandemic. You have the right to know the rationale behind the decisions being made. Ask, no insist, that in our patient-centered healthcare system you are kept fully informed – at all times. Honesty, transparency, and forthrightness are key features of an enduring trust. We will get through this together better if we collaborate. Our leaders need to commit to full transparency – now.
    Many of the surgeries described can be done in the midst of this pandemic, in my mind, and still meet the expectations of those planning ahead for the worst possible outcome. The key is not to overwhelm the medical system – especially our acute care sector that includes emergencies and intensive/high-dependency care units. The juggling act needs to balance relative risks in a time-sensitive manner. While an over-abundance of caution was, from my perspective, justified in our initial response because of the overwhelming uncertainty and complexity of our ‘unprecedented’ situation, we are now in a position to make more strategic decisions and to involve the public in making difficult decisions that affect them in a patient-centered healthcare system.
    There are a lot of retired physicians who can help fill gaps in the system while it responds to the pandemic. All that requires is that they are given an opportunity to contribute. If this happens our present resources can be put to maximal use 24 hours a day while we increase capacity and in a way that allows the system to change paths, if necessary, quickly. In my mind the only surgeries that need to be carefully considered are those linked to a reasonable risk of utilizing the limited acute care resources mentioned above.
    Organize and send a message to your local politician. Remind them that your goal is advocacy for quality care for everyone in a manner that fits with the concept of a patient-centered healthcare system that is aligned with the values that underpin our society and the medical profession. Most importantly, you just want to be heard and understood so you can better collaborate with decisions without ruminating about them.

  25. ROB

    I see alot of talk about months it’s been years for me I have become so sedentary (1 hip moderate arthritis the other bone on bone for years) I can only wish it has been only months… am I the only one waiting for years ; 3 to be exact

  26. B

    Yes, my good knee is increasingly unable to keep me mobile. Was scheduled for a knee replacement on March 30 , NS.

  27. Dorina Sheinerman

    Hi I was diagnosed with endometrial adenocarcinoma , I was referred to sunnybrook hospital , I never got back an answer, nor my Doctor who made the reference,I am really worried that I can’t even talk to the doctors on the phone , I can’t ask any questions, get any information!
    Please let me know where can I go and what can I do to get an appointment for this surgery!
    Thank you!

  28. martha uruena

    misdiagnosed for 1 1/2 years by my family doctor! Finally after I ended up in emergency on Mar.03 2020 due to a bleeding ulcer because of the excessive amount of antiinflammatory meds. Bone scan reveals that bone to bone hip urgent hip replacement needed. I don’t even get a call to see the surgeon at Trillium no return phone calls… other surgeon in Oakville told me because of the pandemia she only gets 2 operating days A MONTH!! and her waitlist (emergency) is 40 people. i cried the whole day!! I can’t take this pain anymore and its not fair for us to be waiting in pain day and night for surgery…. this is where I totally will welcome paid for service medicine! is cruel and not acceptable…. I may have to wait until January. almost totally disable and I am 67 years old.

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