Hospitals suspending elective surgeries

By , Daily Memphian Updated: November 30, 2020 3:44 PM CT | Published: November 30, 2020 12:13 PM CT

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare is suspending elective surgeries on Monday, Nov. 30, and Tuesday, Dec. 1.

Baptist Memorial Health Care also confirmed Monday, Nov. 30, that is it rescheduling elective surgeries that require an overnight stay at its Memphis hospital on Walnut Grove Road.

“We are still performing elective procedures that do not require an overnight stay,” Baptist said in a statement early Monday afternoon.

“We will evaluate this every day, and then when the COVID census drops below around 100, we should be able to resume all elective procedures.”

Monday, Methodist had a record 219 COVID in-patients, up from 183 on Thanksgiving Day. 

The hospital system is monitoring several things now, including community COVID-19 metrics and the types of procedures on its docket for the rest of the week.

“We have not restricted Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at all. We’re assessing this on a day-t0-day basis, and it’s going to depend on our triggers, which include ED (emergency department) pressure, how many beds we have in the hospital of each particular type and what this curve of the COVID increase continues to do,” said Dr. Richard Aycock, chief of staff.

He could not immediately say how many surgeries would be delayed early in the week but noted they included procedures in the operating room, catheter and gastro intestinal labs and in interventional radiology.

Methodist surgeons who were scheduled to operate early this week were notified late last week, according to a staff memo dated Friday, Nov. 27.

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“Any questions about whether a case is defined as elective will be reviewed by medical staff leaders, following our standard practice,” Methodist said.

Friday, the Methodist system had 200 COVID patients and symptomatic patients awaiting test results, which hospital leaders said was “significantly higher” than the combined 186 it had on Thanksgiving Day.

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Regional One Health is monitoring the situation, it said Monday, but has not made any changes.

Campbell Clinic also has not suspended elective surgeries.

Thanksgiving came as hospitals everywhere are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients, many sicker now than in earlier waves because treatment and discharge options for those with less-severe cases have improved.

“We’re fully expecting next week and in the first part of the following week to really ramp up the number of COVID cases simply because of the exposures during the holidays,” Aycock said.

“We’ve seen it after every holiday this year, and there’s no reason to think that Thanksgiving isn’t going to follow suit or even be worse because of the nature of the gathering,” he said.


Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare elective surgeries Baptist Memorial Health Care Dr. Richard Aycock
Jane Roberts

Jane Roberts

Longtime journalist Jane Roberts is a Minnesotan by birth and a Memphian by choice. She's lived and reported in the city more than two decades. She covers business news and features for The Daily Memphian.


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