Hospitals around Florida prepare to resume elective surgeries as state reopens amid crisis


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Doctors and nurses will have their hands full beginning Monday, now that Gov. Ron DeSantis has given the green light to allow elective surgeries to resume.

Surgeries and procedures were canceled or postponed amid the coronavirus crisis, fearing hospitals would need all the space possible to treat patients.

At AdventHealth’s Tampa facility, there is a lot on the calendar.

“We have a significant backlog,” said Dr. Doug Ross, Chief Medical Officer. “We estimate we have about a 2,000-or-so cases backlog right now, that we need to handle,” Ross said.

AdventHealth’s elective surgeries will resume May 11, Ross explained. He stressed that safety is paramount.

“We are planning to test all of our patients, prior to undergoing surgery or procedures, for COVID-19,” Ross said.

Doctors and nurses will also be checked inside AdventHealth’s facilities.

8 On Your Side learned the medical group is taking serious steps to ensure safety and to abide by CDC social distancing guidelines. There are markers on floors, extra space in waiting rooms, plexiglass protectors and limited visitation. Visitors will be allowed to video conference with loved ones, but in-person meetings are not allowed.

“I think it’s one of the safer environments you can go to,” said Andrea Maronn, who lives close to AdventHealth in Carrollwood. “I’m more fearful going to some places like Walmart. At least they take precautions in places that administer health,” she said.

At Tampa General Hospital, all patients will be tested for COVID-19, even if they are at the hospital for reasons unrelated to the virus.

COVID-19 patients have and will continue to be treated in a separate section of the hospital, according to paperwork provided by TGH.

“For the past eight weeks, Tampa General Hospital has provided essential life-saving care to COVID-19 positive and non-COVID infected patients. Now, TGH is ready to offer the same level of medical
expertise to patients seeking elective surgeries and procedures; all with the highest level of patient and physician safety in place,” a media release from the hospital said.

Back at AdventHealth, Dr. Ross had words of encouragement for anyone fearful to visit a hospital in the current COVID-19 world.

“If I have a message to give to people out in our community, have confidence that we will keep you safe,” he said.


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