Albertans devastated over postponed surgeries

An Edmonton man’s brain tumour operation was cancelled indefinitely – and he’s not the only one. Sarah Chew talks to other patients waiting for non-emergent surgeries as the province makes room for COVID cases in the ICU.

EDMONTON — Non-urgent and emergent surgeries at hospitals have been postponed across Alberta to create capacity in ICU’s as COVID cases continue to surge.

Dave Mathers has a chronic kidney disease and has been on dialysis for years.

A year ago he started testing for a kidney transplant from an anonymous donor and was on track to have a new organ by Sept. 8. He was devastated to discover his surgery was cancelled.

“For many years I’ve been hoping for this, and it was just taken away in a second,” said Mathers.

Meanwhile, Rhonda Vance’s seven-year-old son needs surgery for his relapsing bilateral clubfoot. There were plenty of tears when they were told Friday’s surgery was postponed.

“It was frustrating, my son was very upset. He was quite sad .. because he’s in pain,” said Vance.


Vance’s son Keegan feels pain when he walks, because his right foot is twisted inwards, and he has to walk on the side of his foot.

“We had him in baseball earlier this year, and it was really hard to watch him struggle to run with the other kids. He did it, but he paid the price afterwards because he was in so much pain.”

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said in a press conference on Thursday that in the past four months, 84 per cent of the people who died due to COVID-19 were not fully vaccinated.

As someone whose surgery was pushed to make ICU room, Mathers wants people to reconsider refusing the COVID vaccine.

“I don’t think anyone that doesn’t get a vaccine is out there trying to stop someone like me from getting my kidney. I don’t think they’re trying that. But they have to understand this is the consequence of them not taking the proper action,” said Mathers.

As of Thursday, there are 154 COVID-19 patients in the ICU in Alberta and no word on when patients with cancelled non-urgent surgeries will be able to reschedule.

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