Return of elective surgeries welcomed by patients, hospitals

Reporter: Breana Ross Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
In this Feb. 16, 2017 file photo, surgeons perform a non-emergency angioplasty at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. Through a blood vessel in the groin, a tube is guided to a blockage in the heart. A tiny balloon is then inflated to flatten the clog, and a mesh tube called a stent is inserted to prop the artery open. According to a federally funded study released on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, people with severe but stable heart disease from clogged arteries may have less chest pain if they get a procedure to improve blood flow rather than just giving medicines a chance to help, but it won’t cut their risk of having a heart attack or dying over the following few years. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Another part of the phase one reopening plan allows for elective surgeries to return at health facilities statewide. And that’s welcomed news for patients and the hospitals that have lost millions of dollars during the coronavirus pandemic.

We looked at the changes that can be expected for those who plan to undergo an elective surgery in the region in near future.

Southwest Florida hospitals already have plans to ease their way back into elective surgeries starting tomorrow. But they’re still making sure they take precautions to keep every patient safe.

Lee Health says it’s limiting surgeries at 20% to 25% of normal volume while it monitors the impact on the health system. Every patient will be screened for symptoms, and everyone will be required to wear a face covering.

NCH Healthcare System and Physicians Regional in Collier County are also starting elective procedures Monday while continuing to isolate COVID-19 patients. Those health facilities will require masks and mandate screenings for symptoms.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Sunday, that without things such as elective surgeries, hospitals were struggling financially. Some were even having to furlough workers. So he is hoping this helps hospitals stay afloat and ensures people get the procedures they need.

Physicians statewide say, if you need surgery, it is safe to have it done now, so individuals won’t suffer from any irreparable damage.

“Things like aneurysm surgery, limb salvage surgery, heart bypass, even some cancer procedures that maybe the providers over the past couple of weeks had decided in the interest of public health and the interest of the patients safety and the staff’s safety to delay a couple weeks, it’s now time to do those procedures,” said Dr. Robert J. Feezor with UF Health Heart and Vascular Surgery at Halifax Health in Daytona Beach.

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