Some hospital officials say they have assessed the effects of delayed care caused by the closure of elective procedures earlier in the pandemic. “It was very clear that many of these people had decompensated or were more seriously ill than they otherwise would have been,” said Dr. Bryan Alsip, chief medical officer at University Health in San Antonio, Texas.
Although his hospital is facing a new wave of Covid cases, Dr Alsip said, he still schedules surgeries that do not require an overnight stay in the hospital.
In North Carolina, pent-up demand for care has added another layer of pressure now that Delta has pushed some hospitals to their limits.
âFrom a global community perspective, this time, compared to March and April, our emergency volumes are at record levels,â referring to the hospital emergency department, said Dr John Mann , a surgeon who oversees surgical and specialty care services for Novant Health, a large hospital group based in North Carolina. âIt’s every disease imaginable. They all come for treatment.
This year, unlike last year, Novant is not making any universal decisions on how to handle non-urgent cases. While the increase in Covid cases has forced him to stop elective procedures at his Rowan Medical Center for weeks, orthopedic and colorectal surgeries continue at Novant Health Clemmons Medical Center, a much smaller hospital. “We are doing it facility by facility,” said Dr. Mann.
While hospitals have generally been better able to predict what resources they will need as the pandemic comes and goes, making them less likely to stop elective procedures, others have started to do so. recently, said hospital consultant David Jarrard.
Hospitals also continue to struggle with a severe shortage of nurses, but are less concerned about running out of essential equipment like N95 masks.