Mountain Health Network urges public not to postpone surgical procedures

Monday, June 29, 2020

Mountain Health Network (MHN) and its hospitals, Cabell Huntington Hospital (CHH) and St. Mary’s Medical Center (SMMC), are urging the community not to postpone surgical procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While some surgical conditions may be safely postponed, delaying surgery may allow certain surgical conditions to progress and become more complicated or life-threatening. For most surgical conditions, earlier operations produce better outcomes” said Hoyt Burdick, MD, chief clinical officer, MHN. “For those patients who are considering elective surgery, we are now able to provide timely screening for COVID-19 and to more confidently assure their protection and safe recovery”. New national research by ReviveHealth found more than a third of patients do not feel comfortable seeking medical care due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, those delays could cause serious harm to patients.

“We want the community to know that the Cabell Huntington Hospital and St. Mary’s Operating Rooms are following guidelines for resuming elective surgery that were set forth by the American College of Surgeons in a plan approved by the State of West Virginia. We are taking additional precautions necessary to ensure the highest level of protection and safety for patients,” Burdick said. “This is not the time to wait for a surgical problem to become an emergency.”

“Our hospitals have always been focused on patient safety, and that is now truer than ever. We want to assure patients that we are taking extensive safety precautions,” said Joseph P. Assaley, MD, FACOG, executive medical director of perioperative services, CHH. “Many surgeries have already been delayed a month or more, so we urge patients not to delay their procedures any longer.”

“Many illnesses and or surgeries are far less serious and less complicated when diagnosed and treated early,” said Jeffrey Leaberry, MD, executive director of surgical services, SMMC. “Waiting for symptoms and/or conditions to worsen could lead to increased complications or less than optimal outcomes.”

Patients can expect to be screened before entering the hospital and again before their procedure. Additional precautions the ORs are taking include:

  • Testing patients for COVID-19 before surgery
  • Vigorously cleaning and sanitizing surfaces
  • Requiring all staff members to wear masks at all times
  • Requiring all surgical staff members to wear proper personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Enhancing patient safety and patient flow processes

In addition, masks are required for all patients and visitors throughout their time in the hospitals and restricted visitation policies for inpatient and outpatient surgeries have been implemented. For a complete overview of the screenings and visitation policy, please visit Assaley also encourages patients to communicate with their care team. “Never hesitate to ask your surgeon questions if you have concerns regarding COVID-19 or anything else related to your care.”