First orange. Now purple.

The IWK Health Centre recently called a code purple, meaning there were no beds available for patients in certain units, a spokeswoman for the Halifax children’s hospital confirmed yesterday.

The code purple -- which lasted more than a week -- came less than five months after the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax dealt with another emergency known as code orange, called because of overcrowding in the emergency room.


“We were in a code purple situation, which means two of our units were at capacity,” Kelly Morrisey said, adding hospital executives made the initial call May 27.

“As of Friday afternoon, we called ‘all clear.’ ”

Morrisey said the two departments affected were the family, newborn and adult surgery unit, which was full for about 24 hours straight, as well as the in-patient psychiatric unit, which was at capacity for more than a week.

According to Morrisey, the hospital “looks at many different options” when handling such a situation, such as transferring patients to other units or asking hospitals in other districts to hold on to patients whose health they can manage for a while longer.

Morrisey said code purples at the IWK Health Centre happen “every now and then,” adding the surgery unit has been placed in that situation “a few times this year, because there’s an increase in HRM births.”

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