Winnipeg Free Press
Children's Hospital declares emergency after being hit hard by flu outbreak
By: Carol Sanders
Posted: 04/7/2016 3:08 PM

Severe cases of flu, respiratory distress syndrome and a spike in the number of newborns needing intensive care prompted the Health Sciences Centre to declare an emergency at Children's Hospital.

By declaring an emergency, the hospital can invoke Article 10 of the nurses collective agreement to redeploy staff and change schedules to meet patient needs, said Lori Lamont, vice president and chief of nursing for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

This flu season, there have been fewer cases but more people getting really sick from it and requiring intensive care, Lamont said. It prompted the WRHA to declare a state of emergency at St. Boniface General Hospital on Mar. 18 to move staff around and change schedules.

"The pressure was really in the intensive care units," said Lamont. "We had high numbers of ventilated patients who were very, very sick," she said. "Both adults and children were really sick and requiring intensive care." While the situation with adults has tapered off - the emergency was lifted at St. Boniface hospital on Wednesday - it hasn't at the Children's Hospital intensive care unit. There a "perfect storm" has developed, said Lamont. More kids are still in intensive care with the flu. At the same time, its ICU is dealing with respiratory distress syndrome which is common at this time of year as well as a higher-than-usual number of newborns and premature babies requiring intensive care...