Prince County Hospital rescheduling dozens of surgeries after anesthetist resigns

Published on August 27, 2014

Prince County Hospital

©Guardian file photo

SUMMERSIDE — A shortage of anesthetists at Prince County Hospital here is causing a backlog of elective surgeries at the facility.

Dr. Wassim Salamoun, medical director of Prince County Hospital, said Wednesday that about 40 surgeries had to be rescheduled so far, and he expects that number to go up over the next couple of months.

The hospital’s usual compliment is three anesthetists, said Salamoun, but one left in July.

The remaining two had to shuffled their schedules and have prioritized providing 24-hour emergency services at the hospital. Add previously scheduled vacation time and family commitments to the mix and the result is potential temporary upheaval for anyone with a previously scheduled appointment.

“The appropriate care for the ones who need it immediately is really the first thing on our minds, and we’re hoping that within the next couple of months, most everybody will have a new booking day,” he said.

In the short-term, there is a locum anesthetist who will be helping out for the next month, but the hospital and Health P.E.I. is searching for a third.

However, Dr. Salamoun warned that it can be difficult to find new professionals to fill these jobs.

“A lot of the new grads prefer to stay in larger centres. They feel more comfortable there right out of training,” he said.

“It’s not for everyone, to come to a smaller centre and work. But it is certainly for a number of people it’s just a matter of finding the right person who wants the lifestyle.”