CHEO raising money to speed up wait times for surgeries


A $5 million campaign is underway at CHEO to improve its day surgery unit and reduce wait times for kids.

Construction for Project Stitch begins next year and renovations are slated for completion at the end of 2016. Money is being raised through the CHEO Foundation.

Project Stitch will help to reduce the wait times of all day surgeries at CHEO, and that helps children and youth with a range of conditions, from inflammatory bowel disease to children needing cochlear ear implants.

“We’re looking to increase the number of surgery procedures by about 26%,” said CHEO spokeswoman Eva Schacherl. “That’s about 2,000 surgeries a year.”

And with 600 children on the waiting list, dental and oral surgeries “are, in fact, about 20% of our day surgeries,” said Schacherl.

Internationally, cavities and tooth decay are infesting the mouths of children under age six — so much so, new research pegs 19,000 kids requiring dental surgery annually, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

Their teeth are so damaged, young children are requiring general anesthesia, going under for 82 minutes, on average.

Many kids come from low-income families and don’t have insurance.

Staff at CHEO performed 980 dental surgeries in the last year.

“When that kicks in, we’ll be able to do an extra 384 dental surgery cases a year — that’s our estimate,” said Schacherl.

Dental surgeries in hospital are costing taxpayers $21.2 million each year across Canada, excluding Quebec, the study finds, noting cavities and decay are “highly preventable.”

Twitter: @ottawasunkroche

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