By Sunil Narula

It was indeed a very strange sight. And initially the pictures which came out seemed like something straight out of some Hollywood movie.

The Emergency Room of Surrey Memorial Hospital was flooded and in the background you could see a huge wall of water forcing its way into the room.

It could be days, even weeks, before normalcy returns to the hospital, the only one in this area.

Was this something waiting to happen? Not the flooding, but some such emergency was perhaps waiting to happen to once again highlight the fact that having just one hospital in such a vast area is simply not enough.

As it is, patients have to wait for months and even years to have one surgery. The waiting list for such cases is very long. Now this incident will further push back the dates of such surgeries and other such medical cases.

The damage done to equipment and the hospital is still being calculated. But it is obvious that the damage has been huge and many dollars of tax-payers` money will go into correcting something that was avoidable.

When we have all kinds of signs on the road to remind us (when we are driving) that we entering a school area, are in a no exit zone, no entry, no pick-up, no drop etc, why were there no signs to tell the construction workers that they were digging next to a water pipe.

Some inquiry or investigation into the matter will pin the blame on someone and we will return to business as usual. Vast amounts of money will be spent on getting the hospital back into shape again. The waiting time and the waiting list of patients and those in need of surgeries will increase further. And no one knows for sure when exactly will there be another hospital to cater to the growing population of this area.

Only one Surrey Memorial Hospital to cater to such a vast area is simply not enough and the load on it is becoming unbearable.

Stats about the Surrey Memorial Hospital :-
The hospital serves more than 1.6 million people including residents from Burnaby to Hope to Boston Bar. So, if something goes wrong, like it did, we can imagine how many people get affected. The SMH has 26,000 staff, 2,500 physicians & 6,500 volunteers.

Every day the hospital sees an average of:- 42 babies born, 900 childhood immunizations, 125 hearing evaluations, 46 InterRai assessments, 1,208 Emergency Department visits, 2,065 patients in acute care beds & 457 patients have surgery.