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Partnership brings spinal surgery to Kenora

Some patients have already undergone orthopaedic surgery in Kenora, thanks to partnership with Thunder Bay's regional hospital.
Lake of the Woods hospital winter
Spinal surgeries are now being conducted at the Lake of the Woods District Hospital in Kenora. (File photo)

KENORA – Kenora-area residents now have a chance to access spinal surgery closer to home, thanks to a new partnership between the Lake of the Woods District Hospital and the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

Multiple patients have already undergone orthopaedic procedures in Kenora, the hospitals reported in a joint release Monday.

The expansion of services comes through the TBRHSC’s Regional Surgical Services program, which has also seen partnerships created with Dryden Regional Health Care and Riverside Health Care in Fort Frances since launching in 2016.

“We are very pleased to be selected as a spinal surgery site,” said Ray Racette, president and CEO of the LWDH. “Offering this service closer to home and in doing so, helping reducing long wait times for spinal surgery, is critically important for the people we serve.”

Offering the procedure has particular importance for northwestern Ontario residents, said TBRHSC president Rhonda Crocker Ellacott.

“Our population sees more musculoskeletal disease requiring a higher-than-average use of orthopaedic surgical services,” she noted.

The expansion of the spinal surgery program to Kenora was made possible in part through new provincial funding models, the hospitals stated.

The COVID-19 pandemic had made travelling for surgery even harder on patients, the organizations said, highlighting the need to work toward a standardized level of care for all patients across the region.

“I am absolutely thrilled with our growing partnership with Lake of the Woods District Hospital,” said Dr. David Puskas, an orthopedic surgeon at TBRHSC. “Working together has enabled patients suffering from spinal pathology to receive surgical care and successfully recover closer to home.”

Neither the Thunder Bay District Health Sciences Centre nor the Lake of the Woods District Hospital were immediately available for comment on this story.