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Morris Hospital resumed elective surgeries and procedures on May 11 as permitted by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Since March 18, surgeries and other procedures at Morris Hospital involving anesthesia had been limited to urgent and emergent cases.
Twenty-nine surgical and GI cases were performed at Morris Hospital in the first three days after the restriction was lifted, including total knee replacement, hernia, gallbladder, foot surgery for Achilles tendon repair, shoulder and knee scopes, rotator cuff repair, carpal tunnel, diagnostic gynecology and urology surgery and screening colonoscopies.
According to Mark Steadham, president and CEO of Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers, one reason elective surgeries were temporarily restricted across the country was to conserve hospital beds, personal protective equipment, and other medical supplies. Before resuming elective surgeries, hospitals in Illinois must have adequate resources available.
“Due to the low number of COVID cases that we’ve seen at Morris Hospital, our resources have remained stable, making us well positioned to care for patients’ elective surgical needs,” Steadham said in a news release from Morris Hospital.
In preparation for the return of elective surgeries, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nursing leadership at Morris Hospital developed a plan that meets all of the criteria established by IDPH and the American College of Surgeons for safely delivering care in the surgical setting.
Some of the new safety protocols put in place for the safety of patients undergoing procedures involving anesthesia, as well as physicians and staff providing care for patients, include:
All patients are screened and tested for COVID-19 within 3-5 days prior to the scheduled procedure and are required to self-quarantine after being tested until their scheduled procedure.
Elective procedures are postponed if a patient tests positive.
Pre-operative surgical/procedural anesthesia interviews with the patient are completed by phone, with anesthesia physical assessments completed the day of the procedure.
In order to limit the number of people in the hospital waiting areas, support persons are only permitted except for patients age 17 and younger and patients who are incapacitated.
Post-operative/post procedural consultations between the surgeon and family member are being done by phone instead of face-to-face.
Post-operative instructions from the discharge nurse are also communicated to the designated family member by phone.
Physicians and staff are screened daily and wear the recommended personal protective equipment at all times.
Modifications have been made to the surgery schedule to allow more time between each case.
Additional cleaning and disinfection measures are being performed in the operating rooms, waiting and common areas.
Similar precautions are in place for patients having scheduled procedures in the catheterization lab, interventional radiology procedures and scheduled cesarean sections.