Medically necessary surgical procedures will continue
Surgical patients can call the Surgical Cancellations line at (626) 397-3166 with any questions.
The Surgeon General of the United States and the American College of Surgeons have advised hospitals to cancel all elective surgeries in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. As a result, Huntington Hospital began an immediate review of scheduled elective surgery cases to evaluate which can be delayed for two weeks, four weeks and three months. For clinically urgent services, such as cancer or cardiac cases, the hospital will consider each on a case-by-case basis.
“Please know that we very much understand that this presents hardships for our patients, our physicians and for the hospital. This decision was made out of an abundance of caution, because we are committed to the health and safety of our patients and our community,” said Lori J. Morgan, MD, MBA, President and CEO.
Cancellations at both the hospital and Huntington Ambulatory Surgery Center began Monday, March 16. Affected patients are being contacted by the hospital if their procedure is among those to be cancelled. If a patient has a question about their specific procedure, they should call their surgeon’s office.
Policy Decision to Help Reserve Critical Hospital Resources, Meet Most Immediate and Urgent Health Care Needs
Huntington Hospital’s decision helps preserve hospital supplies, which have been strained since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. Many supplies are made in China and demand is at this time substantially outpacing supply. The move is also expected to help ensure hospital care is reserved for those who are in the most critical condition. Further, not only is admitting a healthy patient for an elective surgical procedure an unnecessary risk to that patient during a pandemic, it also brings more people to the hospital and potentially exposes healthcare workers to illness.
“We treat each patient with compassion and dignity. On behalf of the entire Huntington team I’d like to personally urge everyone in the community to come together and to avoid stigmatizing anyone who has tested positive for this virus,” says Dr. Morgan. “As caregivers, many of us have had experience with infectious diseases, such as MERS and SARS. In all situations involving communicable diseases, we have a defined process in place to help ensure the health and safety of our patients, physicians, nurses, employees and volunteers, which reflects best practices and necessary precautions. This process has previously been successful in slowing or preventing the spread of such diseases.”
Additional Precautions to Protect Patients, Employees, and the Community
Huntington Hospital has also temporarily restricted visitors to the hospital to minimize exposure to its frontline healthcare workers, whose ongoing good health is essential to dealing with this pandemic. The only individuals permitted to visit the hospital until further notice include:
- One healthy parent at a time for pediatric and neonatal intensive care unit patients;
- One healthy birth partner for labor, delivery, postpartum and recovery units;
- One healthy visitor for all patients having medically necessary procedures, medically necessary out-patient surgery, GI lab, radiology, catheterization lab;
- One healthy visitor for all emergency department patients; and
- One healthy visitor for patients who lack the capacity/competence or the DPOA would fall under the special exception.
Exceptions to this policy may be made for those patients receiving end-of-life care or who have extraordinary circumstances, in which case the nursing team will make the determination. Any visitor who fits the above exceptions but exhibits signs and symptoms of illness may not visit the hospital.
All hospital classes, tours and large group events have also been cancelled and Huntington Hospital’s gift shop and Huntington Collection are also closed at this time.
Most people do not need to come to the hospital if they suspect they have COVID-19. The hospital should be the last line of treatment at this time. If someone is experiencing symptoms that include a fever, dry cough and body aches, they should call their physician who will advise next steps. For more information about COVID-19, please visit www.huntingtonhospital.org/COVID19 and continue to review resources provided by the CDC and other trusted health authorities.