Hospitals starting to reschedule surgeries from cancellations due to COVID-19

VIDEO: Hospitals starting to reschedule surgeries from cancellations due to COVID-19

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Some hospitals are starting to reschedule surgeries they had to cancel because of the COVID-19 crisis.

They tell us there are various measures in place to reduce patient exposure to the virus.

For seven years, Caroline Boyd's pain from endometriosis has built up to now needing a hysterectomy.

"It's been so unbearable these last three, four, five weeks," said the Charleston mom. "It is no fun living on a heating pad. I'm more or less tethered to my couch."

Her doctors agree - she needs the surgery. But they've had to push it back twice this month because of COVID-19.

"They specifically said it was because we couldn't do elective surgeries, and this is elective even though it has completely affected my quality of life. It's not considered life-saving."

Boyd’s surgery date is now May 6. She was required to self-quarantine 14 days before and after.

No visitors are allowed at the hospital with her.

She also must go to a drive-thru a COVID testing site a few days before the surgery to make sure she isn't sick.

"I'm really hopefully I won't get anything while I'm in the hospital those 24-plus hours, but it seems like they're really taking care of all the precautions."

Trident Medical Center Dr. Angela Taylor says several factors play into a decision to delay surgery.

"Part of it is we want to keep healthy people healthy. Keep them out of the way of the virus- hospitals and healthcare facilities," she said. "We also have to keep in mind that some of these elective surgeries require a hospital bed afterward. In trying to make sure we have capacity for any surge during the COVID virus, we want to keep those beds as open as possible."

Other patients are themselves choosing to delay surgery to avoid the risk of exposure to the coronoavirus.

"Finding out like you have a problem - that you have cancer like I do- then having all this on top of it has just been a lot to deal with," said Maria Ness.

Ness was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and needs surgery. Medications are helping delay that for now.

Maria explained why she chose to delay her operation. "In April I wasn't sure when Charleston would be at its peak of this virus. Plus the fear of having complications and having to go back to the hospital. Also, they don't allow you to have family with you in the hospital and it's scary not to have someone with you," she said.

MUSC Dr. Ravi Veeraswamy said the Governor is still mandating no visitors come in except in rare circumstance.

Local hospitals are starting to reschedule some surgeries again.

"Patients have to understand that because of this past month, we are now playing catch-up on our end. We have a lot of patients we didn't operate on so it'll be a complicated process," Dr. Veeraswamy said.

According to Reuters, surgeries can make up to 80% of a hospital's revenue.

Hospitals like MUSC have had to implement temporary lay-offs and pay cuts.

For both Boyd and Ness, the challenge is not just the physical pain but also the emotional strife.

"Sometimes it really gets to you. Then sometimes, I can see a lot of hope in having the surgery done and hopefully having everything over with," said Ness.

Boyd said she’s ready any day for her surgery. “I want to get in, get it done and get out. Get better,” she said.

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