Military help on its way to Alberta to offset pandemic pressures
The Canadian Armed Forces will deploy eight critical care nurses to Alberta on Monday, with the bulk of them being stationed in Edmonton area hospitals.
This as calls grew louder for federal aid to support healthcare workers in Alberta over recent weeks, with COVID-19 hospitalizations reaching new highs.
Premier Jason Kenney says these additional staff members will help fully staff an additional two ICU beds.
“I know that Alberta healthcare workers will be grateful for the helping hand and that all Albertans are thankful for any assistance at this challenging time,” he said Thursday.
The Canadian Red Cross is also set to deploy staff on Monday, with up to 20 destined for Red Deer, to help in that city’s hospital “to augment or relieve existing staff working in hospitals,” read a statement from officials.
In September, Alberta cancelled all non-urgent surgeries in the province due to rising hospitalizations and ICU beds being filled.
For Sharon Durham, a Wynyard, Sask., resident, the pressure on Alberta hospitals has been detrimental to her health.
She is suffering from a rare form of cancer in her face, that has since returned.
Durham was scheduled to have surgery in Edmonton at the University of Alberta hospital, before it was abruptly cancelled last week.
She was told because hospital numbers are skyrocketing, and she is not an Alberta resident, her lifesaving surgery could not take place.
Durham says doctors have told her she may lose her eyesight or possibly die due to the form of cancer she has.
And she blames those who are unvaccinated for delaying surgeries like hers.
“The unvaccinated people who have the choice to get vaccinated aren’t,” she said.
“When they get sick, the first place they go is to our hospitals. Well why are they allowed to take my bed, when I’m doing everything for society to help out.”
However, on Friday, she received a call saying her surgery is back on and scheduled for Oct. 7.
Durham believes there are even more people suffering like her and pleads with anyone not vaccinated, to do so.
“I’m so angry,” she said. “It’s hard because I even have family members who are not vaccinated.”
She says she also has a cousin in need of a kidney transplant, who can’t get one.
Dr. Stephen Vaughan, an infectious disease specialist in Alberta says staffing issues have been troubling at hospitals, with nurses doubling and potentially tripling their workload.
“Typical ICU nurse would have one to one nursing where they would take a care of a single patient,” he said.
“They are all taking care of two patients now and if more people with COVID come in, they may have to take care of three patients at the same time.”