Hundreds of patients in Newfoundland and Labrador are absorbing the blow of having their surgeries delayed after Eastern Health's discovery of stained surgical kits. 

All elective surgeries in St. John's have been called down since Feb.12, after the health authority found stains on kits about to be used by surgical teams.

The cause has since been determined to be mineral deposits traced back to water systems. 

Eastern Health, which has called a news conference Thursday afternoon to provide an update on the situation, said all elective surgeries will resume in St. John's on Monday.

However, stained surgical kits were still being found on Thursday.

'I don't think my mother should have had to be going through this.' - Elsie Wolfrey

Elsie Wolfrey's 63 year-old mother, Ethel,  is one of the patients affected.

She left the isolated community of Rigolet in Labrador on Feb.12 for knee-replacement surgery in St. John's, but only got as far as Happy Valley-Goose Bay before her surgery was cancelled.

She returned to Rigolet, but her daughter Elsie said she has already been rescheduled for Feb. 23 and will be leaving Rigolet again on Friday.

"This is going to be the second weekend in a row she is having to leave our home and our community, which she finds quite stressful," said Wolfrey.

Surgery cardiac complications

Eastern Health says some patients will be sent to Carbonear or Gander as part of its contingency plan. (Shutterstock)

"I don't think my mother should have had to be going through this … for somebody's lack of not doing their job. It's inadequate and inappropriate, I think."

Wolfrey said this incident made her mother consider not having the surgery at all.

"She said, 'I should just cancel my surgery anyway — that's scary, this happening in a hospital," and I spoke to her and mentioned that she really needs to get this procedure done so she can walk better."

Isabella Walsh, who lives on Bell Island, has been waiting for back surgery to relieve the constant pain from a pinched nerve and problems with discs in her lower back.

'I'd rather suffer a little bit longer than to go in and come out with something that I didn't intend to come out with.' - Isabella Walsh

Her surgery, which had been scheduled for Monday, has been delayed until March 9.

While Walsh said she's a little frustrated, she's not angry with Eastern Health.

"I feel that they did the right thing because it's better to be safe than sorry … I mean you're going in and you're having your body opened up," said Walsh.

"I'd rather suffer a little bit longer than to go in and come out with something that I didn't intend to come out with."

Eastern Health said it's planning to send some patients for surgeries to other centres such as Carbonear and Gander.