Elective surgeries temporarily suspended at Adirondack Medical Center

March 20, 2020

Beginning Monday, March 23, all elective surgeries at Adirondack Medical Center will be temporarily suspended, in order to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) and hospital beds for the expected increase in COVID-19 patients.

In a letter to the health system’s medical staff, chief of surgery Dr. Michael Hill wrote:

“All non-urgent, postponable surgeries [will be] cancelled, and rescheduled for future dates to be determined.”

This week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued federal guidance recommending hospitals all non-essential planned surgeries and procedures until further notice.

At Adirondack Health, an oversight committee consisting of two surgeons, an anesthesiologist and three registered nurses will review proposed cases for which the level of urgency is disputed. They will review cases for three main criteria:

  • Do we possess the resources (i.e. space, staffing, PPE) necessary to perform this procedure now, and what would the associated impact be to those resources down the road?
  • Has the level of urgency of the case been discussed with the patient, and what are the patient’s feelings about the case?
  • What is the clinical argument for performing this case now, rather than later?
“We recognize that this decision will yield both anticipated and unanticipated consequences,” wrote Hill. “We must continue to care for the sick and the injured as we adapt to the likely increase of COVID-19 patients with severe respiratory challenges. This change in protocol is a step in that direction.”

To learn more, click here to visit Adirondack Health's COVID-19 resource page. General questions about COVID-19 should be directed to the New York State Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 888-364-3065. Anyone who suspects they have contracted COVID-19 should contact the health system’s dedicated COVID-19 screening and triage clinic at 518-897-2462. Flu-like symptoms should be managed at home by resting, drinking water and self-isolating.

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