MAURY COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — With the surge in COVID-19 cases across Tennessee, some hospitals are starting to cancel overnight elective surgeries again.
“It was a steady increase over a couple of weeks and then late last week, we just got to the point where we were completely full,” Maury Regional Health Chief Medical Officer Martin Chaney told News 2.
Maury Regional Medical Center’s ICU was not only at capacity, but the majority were COVID-19 patients on ventilators.
“All of our med-surg beds and step-down beds were also occupied and we had multiple patients awaiting admission to the hospital,” explained Chaney.
The center had to make decisions, fast.
“We needed to go on diversion briefly for about 24 hours, in which we transferred critical care patients to other facilities because we did not have the capacity to care of them,” said Chaney.
Starting Monday for two weeks, the hospital will not be accepting any elective surgeries that require a bed overnight, such as elective hip, joint, and some cardiac procedures.
Cookeville Regional Medical Center made the same call. A spokesperson for the hospital tells News 2 they reached a record high Monday housing 71 positives COVID-19 patients.
Unfortunately, these stoppages only add to an already backlogged list of elective surgeries from the first surge of the pandemic.
“We halted all elective surgeries for approximately two months which of course created a huge backlog of needed procedures in our community,” Chaney said, “We’ve not fully dug out of that backlog yet. We are still encountering patients all the time, whose illnesses have advanced because they were not able to get those surgeries.”
The biggest concern is for patients with advancing cancers.
“Moving forward, there is concern whether COVID is going to push us and keep us at capacity where we can’t do some of the things we need to do for other illnesses,” Chaney concluded.
Doctors ask people to please continue to wear a mask, socially distance, and get a flu shot so that those who need medical attention can get it.
While hospitals are not prioritizing elective surgeries, they do ask people who need to come into the hospital for emergencies to please not put it off due to fear of contracting the virus.