Monday, November 29, 2021
Home Covid-19 N.S. Health apologizes to N.B. woman after surgery cancelled due to vaccination...

N.S. Health apologizes to N.B. woman after surgery cancelled due to vaccination status

When Jean Hussell set off from her home in Cap-Pelé, N.B., to the make the three-hour drive to Halifax on Tuesday morning, it was with eager anticipation.

The 57-year-old woman was on her way to the QEII Health Sciences Centre for much-needed oral surgery to deal with a longstanding problem with her jaw.

Read more:
Nova Scotia’s proof-of-vaccination policy is now in effect. Here’s what you need to know

She had been in so much pain lately, she was unable to properly eat, and had been losing weight.

“It’s difficult to talk, it’s more difficult to eat,” Hussell told Global News.

“I’ve got to get this so I can get some pain relief.”

Hussell booked the appointment about a week prior. She had been waiting for about three months, and was able to book this appointment because of a cancellation.

Story continues below advertisement

She said she was upfront that she only had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, which she received in early June. Due to her vaccination status, paperwork from her doctor stated she had to obtain a negative PCR test 48 hours before surgery.

She showed Global News a copy of her negative test result, which was dated the Sunday before her appointment.

She said she followed all procedures, including screening at the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border and showing proof she was scheduled for a medical procedure.

Hussell said she showed her paperwork to hospital security, as well as the check-in desk at the waiting room for her procedure in the Victoria General building. Everything seemed to be fine.

She was all prepped for surgery and was waiting for about an hour, when she was told her procedure was being cancelled.

“They said they didn’t have the protocol to deal with me,” she said, “Because I was out of province and I only had one vaccination.”

Hussell said she was upset and disappointed, and began to cry. What was worse, she added, is that no one gave her a clear explanation of why the procedure couldn’t go ahead.

“I never even had a chance to talk to a doctor,” she said.

Story continues below advertisement

Hussell said she is hesitant to get her second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine because of personal reasons. Regardless, she pointed to the fact that she had a negative test result, and would have gladly been tested again on the spot.

“I shouldn’t be denied medical service to help with my problem,” she said.

“It was just a horrible, horrible experience.”

Misinterpretation of ‘clinical pathways’

In response, Nova Scotia Health told Global News that Hussell’s experience was an “isolated incident” and apologized to her for the cancellation.

“Nova Scotia Health performs surgeries on patients regardless of vaccination status,” wrote spokesperson Carla Adams, in an email.

Adams explained surgical teams use a “clinical pathway tool for patients requiring anesthesia during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Calls for Nova Scotia to stand by COVID-19 vaccination mandates for health-care workers

Calls for Nova Scotia to stand by COVID-19 vaccination mandates for health-care workers – Nov 4, 2021

The precautions used are based on factors such as the type of procedure, the patient’s vaccination status and COVID-19 risk based on where the patient lives.

Story continues below advertisement

In Hussell’s case, the procedure was an oral surgery and New Brunswick had been recording a higher number of COVID-19 cases than Nova Scotia.

“The procedure could have proceeded using contact and droplet precautions only, however, it was believed the surgery would require airborne precautions, which is a more complex and timely process that would impact other cases for the day,” she said.

Adams clarified that while it was believed airborne precautions were necessary, they were in fact not needed.

She said it was unfortunate, but had to do with the interpretation of the clinical pathways. She added NSH is now reinforcing the pathways with their surgical teams.

“We acknowledge a cancellation on the day of a procedure is very difficult and sincerely apologize to Ms. Hussell for the inconvenience,” Adams said.

Still waiting to rebook

Hussell said the explanation “doesn’t make me feel better about what happened.”

She said she also wants to make sure other patients, who may be partially vaccinated like her, or unvaccinated, do not go through a similar experience.

She has been in contact with the hospital to discuss her experience, and is still waiting to rebook her procedure.

Story continues below advertisement

“I don’t know how long I’ll have to wait before I get another call,” she said.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Most Popular

Working group addresses rise in pharmacy robberies in Alberta

Pharmacy robberies have become more common across Alberta over the past year. In response to the escalating crime trend, a provincial working group was created...

Fire department says smoke alarm tampering on the rise in Saskatoon

Last month, at least one person died in an apartment fire in Saskatoon where it appears the occupants had tampered with their smoke alarm. Tampering...

Here’s why WHO skipped 2 Greek letters to name new variant ‘Omicron’

The name of a newly identified variant of the coronavirus has had some social media users scratching their heads about the World Health Organization’s...

Saskatchewan Roughriders looking for elusive post-season success

REGINA – The Saskatchewan Roughriders believe it’s time to turn regular season success into a run for the Grey Cup. The Riders, who host the...