N.J. hospital puts a stop to elective surgeries amid coronavirus pandemic

Taken from NJ.com

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March 15, 2020

Hackensack Meridian Health said Sunday it will postpone all elective surgical procedures for two weeks, in response to a request made Saturday by U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams.

Adams’ advice came one day after the American College of Surgeons made the same recommendation.

“Guided by the trajectory of cases in Italy and other countries, it is very likely that the U.S. health care infrastructure and resources, particularly as it relates to care of the most critically ill patients, are likely to be strained over the coming weeks,” the American College of Surgeons said.

It also said healthcare providers should postpone all scheduled elective procedures until they “can be confident that our health care infrastructure can support a potentially rapid and overwhelming uptick in critical patient care needs.”

The group asked medical facilities to minimize the use of “essential items,” including “ICU beds, personal protective equipment, terminal cleaning supplies, and ventilators.”

The Surgeon General said in a Tweet that each elective procedure could possibly bring COVID-19 into a hospital or medical facility while tying up resources and people who may be needed elsewhere.

Hackensack Meridian Health’s two-week postponement begins Tuesday, March 17, and includes non-urgent and non-emergency hospital and campus-based surgeries and procedures, according to a statement.

“This temporary measure will allow our hospitals to enact preparedness plans we have been developing for weeks to create capacity and continue to deliver high quality care during the anticipated surge in COVID-19 cases,” the statement said.

Surgeries and procedures will continue to take place at off-campus sites.

It was unclear Sunday whether other hospitals in the state would do the same,

“Hospitals and health systems will make these decisions on a case by case basis,” said Donna Leusner, a spokeswoman for the N.J. Department of Health.

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