Elective Surgeries? Cancel Them, Surgeon General Says

Operations could spread coronavirus and tie up staff, Adams says
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2020 8:35 AM CDT
Elective Surgeries? Cancel Them, Surgeon General Says
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams speaks last week at the White House.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The surgeon general is asking hospitals to postpone elective surgeries. Operations risk spreading the coronavirus through the hospital, Jerome Adams warned Saturday, Politico reports, and tie up medical personnel who could be needed to deal with the outbreak. "Hospital & healthcare systems, PLEASE CONSIDER STOPPING ELECTIVE PROCEDURES until we can #FlattenTheCurve!" Adams tweeted. The American College of Surgeons had recommended Friday that hospitals and surgeons review scheduled invasive procedures and "minimize, postpone, or cancel" them if possible.

"We’re starting to create capacity by closing off certain elective surgeries, like rescheduling patients who can be rescheduled," an executive for the UCSF Health hospital system in San Francisco said. An executive said the Providence St. Joseph Health system plans to comply, per MarketWatch. "We will evaluate on a day-by-day basis if that elective surgery needs to be postponed or if a person will need a skilled nursing placement,” the executive said. "Physical capacity and a healthy workforce are two constraints that will need evaluation continuously." (Adams also has tweeted that Americans should stop buying face masks during the outbreak.)

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