COVID surge puts pause on elective surgeries; GPHC working on resumption

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The recent surge in COVID-19 infections and deaths, presumably caused by the spread of the deadly Delta variant, led to a pause on elective or scheduled surgeries at the public hospitals across the country.

With a reduction in the number of infections and deaths now, these surgeries are expected to resume soon.

The News Room was reliably informed that doctors at the Georgetown Public Hospital were given a directive to only perform emergency surgeries over the past few weeks; that is, that they should only engage in surgeries needed to deal with an emergent threat to life, an organ, a limb or tissues.

This directive was confirmed by the Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony on Tuesday during his daily COVID-19 Update.

“When we were at the height of the COVID-19 surge- the last Delta surge that we had- I think as an additional precaution, we stopped taking in patients to do elective surgeries because in a hospital setting, it can be challenging if you have infectious patients,” Dr. Anthony stated.

COVID-19 is an infectious disease and Dr. Anthony explained that there have been concerns that with an increase in infections, treating patients in hospitals might result in COVID- positive people infecting additional individuals.

And so, the Health Minister said that a pause on elective surgeries was done as a “precautionary measure.”

He emphasised that only elective surgeries were paused and not emergency surgeries.

These elective surgeries are not always optional surgeries; they may also be for serious conditions such as cancer or removing hernias, kidney stones or appendices.

Now that the surge in infections has subsided, Dr. Anthony however noted that the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) is working out the details to safely resume these surgeries.

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