Ontario hospitals scrambling following surge in number of extremely sick babies
A sudden jump in the number of extremely sick and premature babies has left Ontario hospitals scrambling to find space to care for them.
Most of the province’s eight Level 3 neonatal intensive care units, which care for the most fragile newborns, have been struggling with an unanticipated surge in demand since early August, Ontario health officials have confirmed.
Hardest hit have been the three in Toronto — at SickKids, Mount Sinai Hospital and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, said David Jensen, a health ministry spokesperson.
“This is an unusual situation that has not been previously encountered,” he said in an email.
The province was unable to say Thursday exactly how many babies have been treated in these units in recent weeks.
Officials emphasized that all of the infants have received the care required, but conceded it has been a challenge.
The ministry is unaware of what has caused the sudden increase in demand and is studying what’s behind it, officials said. Efforts are underway to ensure there is enough capacity in future.