Stollery Hospital Regrets Last-Minute Kidney Transplant Delay; Apologizes to Family

The medical director at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Alberta has issued an apology to a family after they experienced a last-minute delay in their daughter’s life-saving kidney transplant surgery due to a staffing shortage. Jessica Nichol was prepared for surgery to donate her kidney to her 12-year-old daughter, Caidence, who suffers from chronic kidney disease. However, the surgery was canceled just before it was due to begin, leaving the family facing a potential weeks-long delay. Nichol’s operation was eventually rescheduled on the same day with the help of nurses who agreed to work overtime.

Dr. Carina Majaesic, the Stollery’s medical director, expressed her heartfelt apologies to the family, stating that she had never encountered a surgery being delayed due to staffing reasons so late in the process. The hospital was experiencing a surge of patients, which resulted in a backlog of emergency surgeries and a shortage of nurses to staff the pediatric intensive care unit bed required for Caidence’s post-operative care. The hospital had been dealing with high patient volumes throughout December and made efforts to address the issue by diverting patients and adding more staff, but they were still under pressure.

The incident has highlighted concerns about the capacity and staffing issues in the healthcare system, with opposition health critic Luanne Metz describing the situation as “chaos.” The provincial government has allocated $3 million in Budget 2023 for planning a new stand-alone Stollery Children’s Hospital, acknowledging the need for improved patient care. The timeline for completion, however, remains unclear. Health Minister Adriana LaGrange emphasized the importance of providing timely and reliable access to quality care and stated that planning for the new facility is already underway.

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