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Resuming scheduled surgeries – why it’s safe and the right thing to do

  • Category: COVID-19
  • Posted On:
Resuming scheduled surgeries – why it’s safe and the right thing to do

During the past few weeks, hospitals across the country, in California and locally in Monterey County have been resuming scheduled surgeries. Last week, we put a new process in place to do that safely here at Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System. Everything has been going really well so far and next week we expect to further increase our daily capacity for scheduled surgeries at the hospital. I want to share a little bit more with you today to explain why SVMHS made this decision.

First and foremost, allowing scheduled surgeries to begin again is important for the health of our patients and the community. A wide range of procedures are often labeled as “elective” surgeries, but that is somewhat of a misnomer. Often, these procedures are for serious issues that are not considered emergencies and would be scheduled quickly under normal circumstances. Examples include cancer surgery, cardiology procedures and some important preventive care services. Putting off necessary care like this for an extended period of time can present additional risks that result in negative health impacts to patients.

We’ve also worked hard to build in additional safety measures to our standard surgical processes with COVID-19 in mind. Specifically, we are requiring additional screening and quarantine for patients who wish to set up a scheduled surgery. In addition, we are performing a daily review of our medical resources to ensure we maintain adequate capacity to respond to all the vital services we perform, including a potential surge in COVID-19 cases.

All patients who are being scheduled for surgery can expect strict enhanced infection prevention protocols before surgery with pre-operative COVID-19 testing 3-4 days prior to surgery and self-isolate/quarantine after being tested. Scheduled surgery patients must also adhere to post-operative instructions including visitation restrictions, social distancing and masking requirements.

I mentioned it before, but I want to re-emphasize that we will be keeping a close eye on COVID-19 patient trends at our hospital and in Monterey County as a whole. If we see a surge of positive cases that need inpatient care, adjustments to our current policy will be quickly considered and put in place as necessary. We’ve taken proactive measures to educate vulnerable populations, such as ag workers and people living in nursing homes. Those steps will also continue.

In closing, the physicians, staff and leadership team at SVMHS are all deeply committed to the health of those we serve. Although dealing with COVID-19 is serious and people should be cautious, delaying vital healthcare is dangerous. I’m fully confident that whenever someone needs emergency care or a scheduled surgery, they will receive safe, effective care by choosing SVMHS. To learn more about the steps we’ve taken to make that possible, read about our efforts here.