BURLINGTON – The UVM Medical Center announced Thursday that it will be closing its operating rooms on the Fanny Allen campus on Nov. 17.
The decision was made “out of an abundance of caution,” after staff members again reported symptoms of dizziness and nausea and an odor.
A similar situation last fall, led to the closure of the operating room while the situation was investigated and upgrades made.
All employees who experienced symptoms since last fall have been treated and recovered, and patients have not reported symptoms at any time, according to the medical center, which also reported that air quality data continues to be normal, and has been within normal and safe levels during each incident.
“This announcement is incredibly frustrating, both for the staff and patients at Fanny Allen, and all the people who have worked so hard to remedy the situation,” said Stephen Leffler, MD, President and COO of the UVM Medical Center. “While this was a difficult decision to make, especially in a year that has brought with it one crisis after another, the incidents have caused real anxiety for our employees and we believe this is the right decision.”
Unless the organization is able to determine a cause that can be clearly addressed, staff and patients will not return to the operating room or inpatient rehab spaces. However, at no time have the outpatient rehab, urgent care or COVID-19 testing areas been affected. They will continue operating at the Fanny Allen campus.
Because the surgery schedule at UVM Medical Center’s main campus has been scaled back due to the cyberattack and COVID-19, most cases will be accommodated there in the coming weeks. UVM Health Network partner hospitals may also be able to accommodate some patients, as they have done before.
“At this point, words can’t adequately convey how grateful I am to our staff for their incredible dedication to our mission, and to our patients for their understanding,” Leffler said.