ATHENS — After careful and thoughtful consideration and substantial input from medical staff leadership and administration, OhioHealth has made the difficult decision to cancel elective surgeries and procedures, effective at the close of business on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.
“These are simply unprecedented times for us as a country and especially for us as medical providers,” said Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer at OhioHealth. “As we brace for a possible surge of COVID-19 patients, we must do everything we can to preserve our resources and prepare our community, our facilities and our staff.”
Taking this step is in alignment with recommendations from the U.S. Surgeon General, the American College of Surgeons and numerous other public health experts.
Cancelling elective surgeries will:
· help protect our patients from possible exposure to the COVID-19
· increase inpatient bed capacity
· preserve personal protective equipment (PPE)
· free up equipment such as ventilators and equipment for critically ill patients
· and conserve the critically threatened blood supply.
What is an elective surgery?
An elective procedure is defined as one in which there is no immediate harm in deferring the surgery. Examples of this are joint replacements, bunions, cataracts, bariatrics, asymptomatic hernia, benign breast, benign endocrine, etc.
What is NOT an elective surgery?
If any of the following criteria are met, the surgery or procedure will NOT be postponed:
· Threat to the patient’s life if surgery is not performed
· Threat of permanent dysfunction of an extremity or organ system
· Risk of metastasis or progression of staging
· Risk of rapidly worsening to severe symptoms (time sensitivity)
“We know this will be hard for many of our patients and physicians,” continued Vanderhoff, “but we also know it is the right thing to do right now. The more prepared we are to handle any surge that could come along, the better chance we will have of protecting and caring for our entire community.”