Nova Scotia

Flooding hits Victoria General's Centennial Building, surgeries postponed

Nova Scotia's health minister says a plan to replace the Victoria General's Centennial Building in Halifax will be announced in the new year.

3rd floor leak pours into 2nd floor, leading staff to shut off water

This file photo shows the aftermath of flooding at the Victoria General site of the QEII Hospital earlier this year. (Brett Ruskin/CBC)

Nova Scotia's health minister says a plan to replace the Victoria General's Centennial Building in Halifax will be announced in the new year. 

Most surgeries have resumed at the Victoria General's Centennial Building in Halifax after another flood forced officials to shut off water and postpone surgeries on Monday.

The Nova Scotia Health Authority says while four ophthalmology operating rooms weren't damaged in the leak, a supply room was and one of four ORs will temporarily be used for storage. 

Eye surgeries are expected to resume Tuesday, but there will be eight to 10 fewer eye surgeries performed per day for up to two weeks until the the supply room is repaired. 

"It really strikes a chord with me, the urgency of moving on these Centennial and VG replacement work," Health Minister Leo Glavine told reporters Monday.

Glavine says today's flooding further proves a need to cement plans for a new hospital.

"It really is a stark a reminder that we have to have quality care, good delivery in place in the future and getting at it as quickly as possible," he said.

A number of challenges still face the rebuild project, he says, that "it's taken a lot of meetings and a lot of work to get this plan ready to go, but in early January we will make known to Nova Scotians exactly what that plan will look like." 

What happened

Early Monday morning, a pipe began leaking on the third floor and water rushed down into the second-floor ophthalmology department.

Four patients in section 2B of the hospital were moved to allow crews access to the flooded area, said Everton McLean, a spokesman for the Nova Scotia Health Authority.

Crews shut down all water to the site and the morning's surgeries were postponed.

At 9:10 a.m., the hospital said water was restored to the building after staff found and repaired the source of the leak. By Monday afternoon, the Nova Scotia Health Authority said all non-eye surgeries had resumed.

Several types of surgeries performed on floors 10 and 11 — including ears, nose, and throat  — were delayed when water was shut off. As of 12 p.m., those procedures have resumed, but some may need to be postponed. 

'Less impact than the previous one'

Karen Mumford, senior director for the Queen Elizabeth II Health Science Centre, was asked to compare this event with the flooding of the ophthalmology outpatient clinic in the same building in September.

She acknowledges for patients whose surgeries were cancelled, Monday's flood has a big impact.

"From a system perspective the impact of the flood on our facilities, this one is much more contained and has less impact than the previous one," she said.

Glavine said "hopefully it will be possible" the Cobequid Community Health Centre will be used to help get eye surgeries back on schedule. 

"You know, it's another challenging day, a tough day — especially for ophthalmology."  


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