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Public urged not to postpone surgical procedures

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Mountain Health Network and its hospitals, Cabell Huntington Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center, 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,” Hoyt Burdick, MD, chief clinical officer for MHN, said in a news release. “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,” Burdick said. “We are taking additional precautions necessary to ensure the highest level of protection and safety for patients. This is not the time to wait for a surgical problem to become an emergency.”

Joseph P. Assaley, executive medical director of perioperative services for Cabell Huntington, said the MHN hospitals are taking precautions.

“Many surgeries have already been delayed a month or more, so we urge patients not to delay their procedures any longer,” he said.
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, visit mountainhealthnetwork.org/