New York City hospitals are now rescheduling elective surgeries, providing much-needed relief to patients after their procedures were canceled in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
“A week before the procedure, I was notified that I had to reschedule,” Brooklyn Heights resident Roger Best told the New York Post.
The 54-year-old was supposed to have his right hip operated on April 21 at NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital. He had gotten his left hip replaced in December.
“When they canceled it, I said to myself, ‘Oh no,’” Best said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the “New York State on PAUSE” executive order that went into effect on March 22.
The 10-point policy canceled all “non-critical elective surgeries” in order to increase hospital bed capacity, according to a news release on March 20.
“By definition elective surgeries can be done at a different time and now is the time not to do that. We have informed the hospitals of that,” the Democratic governor said at the time.
William Macaulay, chief of the Division of Adult Reconstructive Surgery at NYU Langone and Best’s doctor, told the Post that the hospital had to cancel or postpone over 3,000 surgeries, including 700 joint replacements.
“We postponed all elective total joint replacements for approximately two months. That corresponded to approximately 700 surgeries postponed,” he said.
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“We are in the process of catching up on all those postponements.”
The order in New York City was lifted on June 8 with the governor announcing that the city was entering phase one of reopening.
Best was able to get his surgery done on June 16 after weeks of pain.
“I’m glad I got it done now. You don’t know what the future holds,” he told the Post.
“I wanted to get it over as quickly as possible. If a second wave of the coronavirus comes, then what happens? If you need one of these procedures, get it done as quickly as possible.”
Brooklyn resident Rose Saad was also able to get colon-cancer surgery that had originally been planned for March.
“I feel good, thank God,” the 75-year-old told the Post.
“I don’t need any chemotherapy. I’m happy we’re finished with this.”
A spokesman for Northwell Health, the state’s largest provider, said it has been prioritizing the most urgent elective procedures after postponing 19,000 surgeries during the pandemic.
“It will probably take until mid-summer before we get to all of them,” Terry Lynam told the Post.
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