NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Until Friday, Tennessee doctors were not immune from the economic side effects of the COVID-19 crisis, with all elective surgeries put on hold March 23.
Under certain guidelines, elective surgeries can resume May 1, Governor Bill Lee said earlier this week.
“Financial concern aside, what we were really doing is trying to establish a reserve of personal protective equipment, reserving resources and make sure hospitals are clear of patients in case that surge came,” said Dr. V. Seenu Reddy, Director of Cardiac Surgery at TriStar Centennial Medical Center.
Thankfully, Tennessee never saw a surge. It doesn’t mean the state won’t, but for now, Lee feels it’s appropriate to resume elective medical procedures. But in order for these procedures to begin, hospitals across the state will have to follow certain guidelines with a phased approach.
“It allows for low-risk patients to be in and out of the hospital and get the operations they need. It allows for a surge capacity and if as a society we do get a surge back,” said Michael Cash, owner of Nashville Plastic Surgery.
Although there are fewer restrictions, Dr. Reddy remains concerned. ”Unfortunately, we’ve seen several cases during the lockdown phase of COVID-19 of patients presenting very late with their illness where damage had already been done. Where perhaps it could have been prevented, or less damaging if they would have gotten care earlier,” said Reddy. “All of these health issues that are in the community and have been in the community shouldn’t be ignored.”
He hopes patients continue to get the care they need without hesitation, noting there are a number of safety protocols in place to keep everyone healthy. Patients receive masks when they check-in and are screened to make sure they are symptom-free. The same goes for hospital staff.
COVID-19 in Tennessee
(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )
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