Fraser Health spokesman Roy Thorpe-Dorward in the Mobile Medical Unit that has been set up in a trailer outside the Jim Pattison Outpatient and Surgery Centre near SMH in Surrey.

Fraser Health spokesman Roy Thorpe-Dorward in the Mobile Medical Unit that has been set up in a trailer outside the Jim Pattison Outpatient and Surgery Centre near SMH in Surrey.

Surrey ER closure flooding other hospitals with patients

Surgery cancellations stack up as most ORs shut down, may take two weeks to restore full service



The indefinite shut down of B.C.’s busiest emergency department at Surrey Memorial Hospital after a flood there Monday is putting more pressure on already congested hospitals around the rest of the region.

A “couple hundred” emergency patients are likely being handled by other hospitals that would normally be at SMH, said Fraser Health spokesman Roy Thorpe-Dorward.

“We’ve had reports from [Royal Columbian Hospital] and Peace Arch in particular that have seen more patients than usual,” he said.

The ER at Surrey Memorial is now not expected to reopen until at least next week, Thorpe-Dorward said, and it may take two weeks to restore full service.

The first floor was flooded after an excavator broke a water main during construction for the hospital’s expansion.

Surrey Memorial’s ability to perform surgeries is also crippled because it’s only running one out of the usual eight operating rooms so far.

More than 100 elective or non-urgent surgeries were initially cancelled that had been scheduled for Monday and Tuesday and more are expected to be postponed each day.

“A key priority is to get additional operating rooms up and running,” Thorpe-Dorward said.

Initially the problem was concern about water and power reliability.

Now, ORs remain closed because diagnostic imaging and other equipment lost or damaged in the flood is not yet back on line and the scramble to handle emergency patients without an ER has left the hospital short of staff who would ordinarily support surgeries.

Patients who arrive at SMH and need urgent help are being treated at a 24-hour urgent care area opened at the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre near SMH and a regional Mobile Medical Unit on standby for disasters is now set up there as well to act as a temporary ER.

Less serious cases will be assessed and treated there, while more seriously ill patients will be transferred elsewhere in the region.

Ambulance paramedics are automatically taking patients who would normally go to SMH to other hospitals, depending on where officials determine the most space exists.

All flood water has been removed but work is now focused on drying out the ER and then assessing the restoration work needed and possible damage to sophisticated medical equipment.

“Cleaning will obviously be important as we have to create a sterile emergency environment,” Thorpe-Dorward said.

Crews have built a temporary wall at the back of the ER, replacing the one that collapsed Monday when water released by the water main break burst through.

Thorpe-Dorward said the health authority is proud of how ER staff at Surrey performed in the initial moments of the flood when water suddenly gushed through the back wall.

“We learned our staff don’t panic under pressure,” he said.

Twenty-five patients in the ER were quickly evacuated to other parts of the hospital.

He noted the incident allowed Fraser Health to activate and refine its disaster plans, which set out responses to crises “up to and including the loss of an entire hospital.”

Surrey North Delta Leader

Just Posted

Launched in January, Uplift Canada was founded by Tsawwassen resident Maggie Larocque. (submitted photo)
Surrey shelters get clothing collected June 26 by Uplift Canada

Book a pickup on website of the new non-profit, founded by Delta resident

Converter thefts have increased dramatically as the price of platinum has skyrocketed. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press photo)
Catalytic converter thefts continue to plague Delta

Police say the thefts are on the rise across the city, with seven incidents on Thursday, June 17

A mixed-use development with 69 market rental units and 10 commercial units is proposed for the 2300-block of King George Boulevard. (Thinkspace rendering)
Pair of South Surrey apartment proposals move forward

Council gives third reading to rezoning applications for market-rental and residential projects

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read