Elective Surgeries Are Paused: What Should You Do Now?

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(Newswire.net — April 6, 2020) —

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of hospitals in the United States have postponed or canceled all elective surgeries and procedures. Hospitals are making preparations for a potential surge in patients with COVID-19. The outbreak has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.


Steps to Take When Elective Surgery is Cancelled


Patients are being contacted approximately three days prior to any elective surgery to give you the opportunity to reschedule. Hospitals are trying to protect you from exposure to COVID-19 in addition to having enough resources available for individuals with symptoms of the virus. Some hospitals have been forced to set up tents in the parking lot outside the emergency department to limit exposure.


If your elective surgery is not for a serious medical issue incapable of waiting until after the pandemic, you have no choice other than to wait. If you believe postponing your surgery may be a risk to your life or result in serious issues, you are advised to contact your doctor to discuss your situation. Each elective surgery is currently being evaluated.


If your physician believes your surgery is critical, it may not be postponed. If your surgery is urgent, you may be sent to an outpatient setting if possible. Once the pandemic has tapered off, delayed surgeries are expected to be caught up as quickly as possible at ambulatory surgery centers and hospitals throughout the United States. 


The Reasons Elective Surgeries are Being Postponed or Cancelled


The potential for a substantial increase in patients with COVID-19 is being prepared for by hospitals all over the United States. Hospitals are currently designating space in patient care areas including the ICU and ER for the management of known or suspected cases of COVID-19. The idea is to protect both patients and staff as much as possible from exposure to the virus.


Noncompliance will place the medical staff at a greater risk. Numerous hospitals have already put up tents outside of the building capable of treating 20 patients at a time. When necessary, patients will be directed to these tents by physicians. The tents are being used for patient treatment and triage to reserve space for individuals with respiratory illnesses including COVID-19.


Due to the pandemic, doctors, nurses and hospitals are experiencing a shortage of supplies such as hospital gowns, masks and gloves. Certain states have already mandated all elective surgeries be postponed or canceled in an attempt to preserve as many supplies as possible. Individuals without a significant need to go to the hospital are being encouraged to remain at home.


The number of people admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 is continuing to increase. Hospitals are taking steps to determine the best possible approach to handling elective surgeries that have already been scheduled. The postponement of these surgeries is intended to provide additional ventilators and beds for patients with COVID-19.


Due to a large number of confirmed cases, additional medical staff is required to treat patients. The guidelines currently being observed are necessary for slowing down the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible while attempting to make certain there are enough resources available for treatment. The majority of ambulatory surgery centers and top healthcare organizations have agreed to postpone all non-urgent surgeries.


All of this is happening to provide as much help as possible to patients with COVID-19. The steps being taken are also meant to ensure social distancing. Government guidance is being followed by medical facilities for all non-urgent surgeries. Clarification is currently being achieved as to which types of elective surgeries are necessary at this time and which ones can be postponed safely.


All individuals with an elective surgery scheduled are encouraged to be patient until clarification is achieved. Understanding the importance of social distancing is critical at this time.