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Nebraska Medicine further limiting surgeries due to COVID-19 hospitalization uptick

Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 6:20 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Nebraska Medicine is essentially implementing their own directed health measure for their hospital system as the number of COVID-19 patients continue to fill up hospital beds.

This means moving, postponing, or even canceling some procedures.

COO Cory Shaw says the hospital system has been limiting non-emergency surgeries that require an inpatient bed since late summer, but that the latest spike in patients has forced them to take additional steps.

Starting Monday, Dec. 10th, surgeries that can wait are being reviewed and possibly canceled.

Surgeries that can wait four to 12 weeks without a substantial change in outcome with be rescheduled at Nebraska Medicine at a later date and surgeries that can wait longer than 12 weeks will be postponed and reassessed in 12 weeks for rescheduling.

Nebraska Medicine will also be expanding the operating room capacity at Bellevue Medical Center and Fritch Surgery Center, enabling them to move patients from the main campus to create more open beds for COVID-19 patients or other urgent and emergency cases.

“We’re really concerned and I think number one, we want to be available for anybody that requires service when it’s needed, and we know as the burden on our two hospitals and emergency rooms grow, that it makes it that much more difficult to care for patients that are in need of other services,” says Shaw. “Patients that have a cardiovascular problem, patients that have a neurological problem, a complex medical situation that requires hospital care, it’s increasingly difficult to get them into a facility or transferred from one facility to another if they need a higher level of care.”

Shaw says it’s not only COVID-19 patients, they’re seeing an increase in patients with other illnesses, to.

The emergency departments are seeing a 30% increase in visits compared to this time last year, and the average length of stay is 10% longer, including COVID-19 patients.

Shaw tells 6 News staffing issues play a role too. One in four shifts at the system are being supported by a travel nurse, someone they hired from outside Nebraska to assist with medical care.

If COVID-19 hospitalizations and numbers continue to grow, Shaw says they may need to consider limiting elective surgeries even more, much like at the beginning of the pandemic.

More information about Nebraska Medicine’s changes can be found here.

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