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Unvaccinated nurses bring heart procedures to standstill in Sydney hospital

A dozen of the state’s top cardiologists were forced into isolation and multiple urgent heart procedures cancelled after two unvaccinated nurses worked while infectious with COVID-19 at a major Sydney hospital.

Critical procedures, including angiograms, pacemakers, stent and valve replacements, were called off at St Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst last week after the nurses worked shifts across at least four cardiac wards.

One senior interventional cardiologist at St Vincent’s, who could not be named because they were not authorised to speak publicly about the issue, said cardiac procedures were brought to a standstill and wait times for operations such as pacemaker surgery had “blown out” with dozens of patients facing weeks-long delays.

“We normally run four cardiac cath labs every day but because of [the exposures] we are now down to running only one theatre, and only for half a day with reduced staff,” they said.

The hospital’s cardiac “cath labs” were closed for at least four days for deep cleaning, with about 30 doctors and nurses identified as close contacts, some plunged into two-week isolation, the doctor said.

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