A tragic scenario has unfolded in Ontario, Canada, as elective procedures are delayed due to COVID-19 concerns. Postponed cardiac surgeries alone have resulted in roughly 35 deaths in the province, according to the Washington Examiner.
Many hospitals were never overwhelmed as was feared early on in the pandemic, and health care administrators will now have to answer for why life-saving surgeries couldn’t be conducted after all.
Cure worse than the disease?
For many, the question lingers as to whether our cure for coronavirus was worse than the disease itself, given that a large number of hospital beds remained empty while patients in need of help for non-coronavirus concerns died.
According to the Examiner, a report from the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario said: “Elective procedures are often not optional. Rather, elective procedures are not immediately required or, in the judgment of the health professional, riskier to conduct during a crisis than after the crisis. These surgeries include some cancer-related procedures, operations to address blood vessel problems, some cardiac procedures, gall bladder and hernia operations, hip replacements and cataract surgery and cosmetic surgeries.”
While delaying hip replacements may not always have serious consequences, postponing cardiac procedures is something that can and often does have devastating outcomes.
And while Canada is dealing with a string of deaths due to delayed procedures, the problem is beginning to emerge everywhere. In the U.S., delays in medical procedures due to coronavirus are leaving thousands in pain waiting for operations, according to USA Today.
Many lifesaving procedures have been deemed non-urgent and therefore canceled. Zach Branson, of Whitewater, Colorado, had a life-saving liver transplant delayed, something which may ultimately prove to be a death sentence for the 33-year-old, as NBC News reported.
Return to normal needed
A return to normal is needed sooner rather than later, as delays in many supposedly non-essential procedures are costing lives that could have been otherwise saved.
Social distancing measures accomplished the goal of “flattening the curve,” and overflow hospitals went underutilized in New York City, a major hotbed of coronavirus, as NPR reported.
Thankfully President Trump is taking action concerning the growing issue of delayed elective surgeries, and his administration is issuing guidelines for hospitals to follow so they can restart such procedures.
Patients aren’t the only ones suffering from the delay in countless elective procedures. Hospital finances are in dire straits, as the cancelation of elective procedures has destroyed a once-lucrative revenue stream, as Fortune reported.
Elective surgeries are the most profitable services offered by hospitals. Indefinite lockdowns are hurting everyone, and now that the curve has been flattened, their purpose has been served. It is time to open things up and begin returning to normal.