For the first time in a month, the Henry Ford healthcare system has resumed day surgery in specially designated operating rooms at its five hospitals, executive vice president Dr. Steven Kalkanis announced on Thursday.
Other health systems, including the Detroit Medical Center and Michigan Medicine, said they are also going to be doing more and more surgeries.
These announcements follow a daunting series of layoffs and departures of doctors, nurses, administrative staff and other hospital staff on the Detroit subway over the past week, which hospital administrators have blamed largely due to their inability to generate income from medical procedures unrelated to the coronavirus crisis.
“Today marks the first day that the Henry Ford Health System has launched an opportunity portal for patients to undergo surgery for non-COVID but still urgent cases,” Kalkanis said when calling journalists.
“We understand that cancer and transplants and heart disease and so many other conditions must not wait,” said Kalkanis, who is also CEO of the Henry Ford Medical Group and academic director of the Henry Ford Health System.
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Henry Ford suspended these types of surgeries on March 16 in response to the new fast-spread coronavirus. Four days later, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a decree banning non-essential medical and dental procedures to reduce pressure on the health care system, as the virus began to infect more and more Michiganders.
Kalkanis said that Henry Ford has identified one or two operating rooms in each of his five hospitals that are specifically designated as non-COVID-19 operating rooms, and the teams assigned to these rooms will work “only and specifically” in these rooms.
“There is a whole process of testing and sterilization, both for the patients and for the staff who work in these rooms to ensure that we can prioritize these patients and get these cases as quickly as possible,” he said. -he declares.
Kalkanis said Henry Ford started with ambulatory surgical procedures that involve patients with a low probability of needing an overnight stay or admission to the intensive care unit.
Such surgeries could include cancer biopsies, procedures required before a patient undergoes a transplant, or treatments to prevent blood clots or strokes.
Kalkanis said the healthcare system hopes to extend these surgeries to more complex procedures, but for the next few days, “we start with these outpatient cases.”
For Kalkanis, the resumption of surgery comes as the healthcare system reaches a plateau in the coronavirus pandemic and it is “hopefully the beginning of a recovery situation. This does not mean that we are out of the woods. It also doesn’t mean a total drop in the number of cases, “he said.
This story was co-published with Bridge Magazine and Michigan Radio.
Other health systems say they are also performing surgeries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If you need a diagnostic procedure or surgery that, if delayed, could harm your health, function or well-being, we have made our hospitals safe for this care Said Dr. Donald Weaver, chief surgery specialist at Detroit Medical Center, in a statement. “This includes our emergency departments, imaging services, cardiology labs and operating rooms.
“In these difficult times, we also recognize that patients continue to require medical care for conditions other than those due to COVID-19. Chronic diseases, medical emergencies, new or worsening symptoms, childbirth and ongoing conditions like cancer don’t stop for COVID-19, and neither does their care, “said Weaver.
Michigan Medicine, the Ann Arbor-based health care system affiliated with the University of Michigan, has also performed essential cancer surgeries throughout the pandemic, said Mary Masson, health system spokesperson.
“We have been able to slowly increase our volumes of surgery for urgent procedures, even now, for patients for whom further delay would cause harm,” she said.
While Whitmer issued a decree banning purely elective procedures, Masson noted that he does not ban essential care.
“Essential care includes cancer and cardiovascular procedures in people for whom delays would be detrimental,” she said.
Michigan medicine, she said, is in “active planning stages” to expand the surgeries and procedures it can provide to patients most at risk of disease progression.
“As always, we would protect our patients from any infectious disease with careful procedures that are still in place,” said Masson. “Throughout this pandemic, safety has been a top priority and we have taken many steps to minimize the spread of disease.”
Meanwhile, Henry Ford’s Kalkanis said he is advocating for the public to know that Henry Ford’s emergency rooms and the emergency rooms of all major Detroit hospitals are safe and sterilized.
“We want us to want people who have potentially life-threatening emergencies not to be afraid to come,” he said, noting a 20% drop in the volume of emergencies compared to last year. “We are concerned that many patients are saying,” I will wait. ”
“We need to get the message out that if someone has chest pain or any other emerging problem, stroke symptoms, etc., they have to go to the emergency room. “
Beaumont Health also released a statement on Thursday saying its emergency medicine specialists are concerned about people who wait too long to seek help because they are afraid of being exposed to coronavirus in the hospital.
“We have taken extra care to ensure that our emergency centers are disinfected, clean and staffed to assist patients in non-COVID-19 medical emergencies,” said Dr. James Ziadeh, chief of emergency medicine at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. “People who suffer from chest pain, stroke symptoms or any other medical emergency should not hesitate to call 911 or visit one of our emergency centers. We are concerned that some patients may experience medical emergencies and be reluctant to seek care, which could be life-threatening. “
Beaumont emergency rooms are open at hospitals in Dearborn, Farmington Hills, Grosse Pointe, Royal Oak, Taylor, Trenton and Troy. Its emergency center in Canton is also open.
Dr. Valerie Vaughn, 35, hospitalist and head of a moderate care unit for coronavirus patients in Michigan Medicine. She is also an assistant professor in the faculty of medicine at the University of Michigan. (Photo: Joe Hallisy / Michigan Medicine)
At Michigan Medicine, Dr. Valerie Vaughn, a hospitalist who is also an assistant professor at UM Medical School, said that emergency surgeries never stopped, but now, “we’re starting to do more of these semi-surgeries urgent, cancer surgeries. We are talking about doing this now because it also hurts people if we have to delay these things. “
Although hospitals are starting to do more and more surgeries, Vaughn said it doesn’t mean that it is a good idea to loosen any restrictions Whitmer has put in place to slow the spread of the virus.
“If we immediately open the state immediately, many more people will die,” said Vaughn, who was the medical co-director of converting a regular hospital unit to a regional negative pressure infection containment unit from Michigan Medicine to help manage the Increase in COVID-19.
“We can’t just reopen the company, bam, on May 1. If we did that, our hospital would be overwhelmed again, ”she said.
“When we originally planned without social distancing, we estimated that between 2,000 and 5,000 patients should be hospitalized at the University of Michigan. Instead, about two weeks after social distancing took effect, our curve stopped being exponential and started to flatten. And I tell you, we have breathed a collective sigh of relief. “
It was at this point that the university suspended plans to open a field hospital on its inside runway to manage a rush of COVID-19 patients.
More: University of Michigan suspends plans to open temporary hospital
“We were talking about putting 500 to 1,000 beds in there, and it was just overwhelming,” said Vaughn. “I never want to have to see this building come to fruition. If we reopened the entire state on May 1, we would need more to cover the number of people who need to be hospitalized.
“Fortunately, I don’t think our governor will let this happen, where the whole state will open at the same time.
“But I’m anticipating some sort of gradual reopening, and I think what’s going to be needed is expanded testing capacity. We have developed our own internal test here at the University of Michigan and increased our ability to test both our patients and our nursing homes.
“But we need more than that. We need to be able to do large-scale testing on asymptomatic people. We need to… determine how many people have antibodies – asymptomatic carriers of the disease, who are therefore most likely to be immunized.
“If we can get to this point, we can really start to think about how to reopen in small ways to help the economy while not overwhelming our hospitals again. Because we have by no means come out of the woods. “
Contact Jennifer Dixon: 3113-223-4410 or [email protected]
To be involved:The Detroit Free Press, Bridge Magazine and Michigan Radio team up to provide updates on Michigan hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic. If you work in a Michigan hospital, we would love to hear from you. You can contact Kristen Jordan Shamus at [email protected] or Robin Erb at [email protected]
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