Kidney transplants from living donors among cancelled surgeries as COVID fills hospitals

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Kidney transplants from living donors are among the surgeries that are suspended as of today to help ease the situation in hospitals that are being overwhelmed with COVID cases, CJAD 800 has learned.

Quebec's health ministry said in a statement to CJAD 800 that "these are difficult decisions being made in a situation where they are facing enormous pressure on the hospital network" and "are not taken lightly."

They said kidney transplants will resume "as soon as possible."

45 kidney transplants from living donors were performed in 2019.

The health ministry said that there's already a collaboration between hospitals for patient transfers but it hasn't been enough.

Other procedures cancelled include non-urgent elective surgeries, mainly those requiring hospital stays.

Endoscopies, catheterizations and eletrophysiologies could also be suspended.

The health ministry said hospitals and a special committee they've set up will evaluate the priorities depending on waiting lists, the evolution of COVID-19 and the capacity of each hospital.

"We understand that we have to prioritize or cut into healthcare, but (we) don't advocate a wall-to-wall solution - that's the case for kidney transplants," said the Quebec Federation of Medical Specialists in a statement.

"We have to consider the capacity of each place, resources monopolized for certain care and the urgency of cases to be treated. For example, do we deprive a child for whom we have found a compatible kidney?"

The federation said they are continuing discussions with the health ministry to clarify how this will be done.

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