WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) As the coronavirus outbreak made its way to our state, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order telling health care providers to postpone elective surgeries in an effort to ensure hospitals were equipped for COVID-19.
Now non-emergency surgeries have returned and United Regional has specific protocol before a patient makes it to the operating room.
Just as some businesses were deemed essential, or non-essential, United Regional health care providers were only allowed to perform essential surgeries at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“No matter what happens in life with a virus or things like that, babies are still born, so there are times where we still have to do c-sections,” OBGYN at URPG Kevin Bedford, MD. said.
“Emergency procedures are things that we deal with, people in significant pain from kidney stones for example, that’s a common issue that brings people to the emergency room,” Urologist at URPG Paul Morrison, MD. Said.
Elective surgeries are back and Bedford said elective surgeries in his field are typically those related to a hysterectomy.
“Or anything that can be related to the female genital tract, anatomy, so we have started using those again,” Bedford said.
Elective surgeries for Morrison include things like prostate cancer that doesn’t need emergency surgery and “quality of life” procedures like an enlarged prostate.
New steps to follow are now taken before each procedure.
“Screening everybody who is going to have surgery ahead of time, so everyone gets cCOVID testing to ensure that they’re not showing any signs of positive virus,” Morrison said.
If that test does come back positive, the surgery will be postponed.
Other safety protocol include limiting traffic in the hospital and keeping personal protective equipment in good supply.
“We’ve kind of heightened all the disenfection practices throughout the hospital, taking special precautions to ensure there’s minimal or no risk of spread,” Morrison said.
Both Morrison and Bedford are glad to resume elective surgeries, get the schedule book moving and take care of those who have been patiently waiting.
“Little by little we’re opening up more times and so we will be able to eventually take care of that backlog of cases that needs to be done,” Bedford said.
One at a time, patients will get their time in the operating room and not have to wonder if it’s safe.
United Regional Health Care System continues to monitor the local COVID-19 situation.
Officials said if the community were to see a surge of hospitalized patients, or a dip in supplies of PPE, plans are in place to decrease the number of procedures.