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Williams Lake family sent to Kamloops to have baby due to staffing shortage

First baby born in 2024 at Royal Inland Hospital was from Williams Lake
Between Wednesday, Dec. 27 and the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 2, at least one family was transferred to RIH to have their baby. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Due to limited specialist coverage in the obstetrics-gynecology unit at Cariboo Memorial Hospital, at least one family was transferred to Royal Inland Hospital (RIH) to have their baby during the holidays, confirmed Interior Health.

Lisa Zetes-Zanatta, executive director, clinical operations, Kamloops, noted between Wednesday, Dec. 27 and the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 2, fewer than 10 expectant families were transferred to RIH. Citing privacy obligations, the specific number cannot be released, she added.

“Interior Health knows patient transfers can be challenging for patients and families, and it is important to stress that these decisions are always made based on the safety of expectant families and their babies,” Zetes-Zanatta added in her emailed response to Black Press Media. “Interior Health hospitals operate as a system of care, where our many locations work as a coordinated network to respond to every patient’s individual needs.”

Zetes-Zanatta said expectant families were contacted on Dec. 22 and those who went to Royal Inland were offered accommodation and other support. All expectant families were asked to present at Cariboo Memorial Hospital so they could be appropriately triaged.

“Interior Health has short, medium and long-term strategies underway to stabilize staffing levels in Williams Lake, including specialist physicians. We continue to work with partners like the Central Interior Rural Division of Family Practice to increase rural benefits for temporary, short-term and permanent physicians in Williams Lake.”

The Williams Lake Tribune learned of a family being transferred to Kamloops to have their baby when inquiring whether a New Year’s baby had been born in Williams Lake at CMH. Irish Topdas and her husband Carlo Sescon welcomed their son King Ezekiel Sescon at 1:34 a.m. New Year’s Day at RIH, becoming that hospital’s first baby born in the new year.

Due to a physician shortage from Dec. 15 to Dec. 21, patients needing to be admitted to CMH for inpatient care in Williams Lake were sent to other hospitals.

In that case the change led to the transfer of four patients, and only impacted medical admissions, noted Interior Health.

One patient was transferred to Lillooet Hospital and three were taken to 100 Mile General Hospital.

- With a file from Ruth Lloyd

READ MORE: Williams Lake’s New Year’s baby born at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops Jan. 1

Angie Mindus

About the Author: Angie Mindus

A desire to travel led me to a full-time photographer position at the Williams Lake Tribune in B.C.’s interior.
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