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  • Writer's pictureydharmd

Covid-19 affects all aspects of life and healthcare, even your scheduled surgery

It's hard to believe it was only about 3 weeks ago when the Surgeon General recommended cancellation of elective surgery. Early on, it was an institution's choice; then came the state mandate in New York. I agreed, earlier than many of my colleagues, it was the right thing to do. Now, looking back, maybe it and many other actions should have been done sooner. But we cannot look back; we need to look forward.

The strain on the system continues. Some areas hit harder than others; New York amongst the worst in the country. Other cities are preparing (I hope) for what may come, or if the early interventions worked, hopefully they will be spared. Unfortunately, we still believe the worse is yet to come for New York. When, how, what that will look like, "the peak", we do not know, which is why we all still need to take precautions, continue #socialdistancing and protect valuable, limited resources (#PPE) like masks, gowns, gloves and face shields. Part of that protection of resources includes cancelling elective surgeries and only performing urgent and emergency surgeries. The most important focus right now is the safety and health of the population.

What exactly is an "elective" surgery? That's a question I have been asked more times in the last two weeks than my 10 years in practice. Basically it means that the problem is not life or limb threatening, and postponing it will not cause some future damage or issue. It does not mean your pain or your return to activity is not important. Of course it is; it's the reason many of us do what we do. We love seeing people get back to their lives, improving function and participating in sports. It just means that unfortunately given the current situation, that it will have to wait.

That's the other question I get asked: "how long until I can have surgery?". It's a question I wish I had a better answer. "As soon as we can, but when that is, I am not sure" is my answer. Thankfully, the community understands, and my patients have been gracious and more concerned about me and my colleagues staying safe. I explain, the peak, while being the most concerning, is also not the only issue. There is a recovery period the system will need as well. It's all of our responsibly to care for the healthcare system as a whole because that will help with the recovery and return to normalcy when we get past this, which we will, together.

While a scary, uncertain and frustrating time, we will get through this together. My practice and I are still here for you. We are open for your urgent and emergency issues. Call us; stay out of the ER. We are offering #telemedicine visits as well. And, when we are able, we will perform your important surgeries. We are here, and we will continue to be here for you and the community as best we can. Be well, stay safe.

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