Kettering Health pauses elective surgeries due to COVID hospitalizations, ‘strain’ on health systems

KETTERING — Non-emergency elective surgeries have been paused at all Kettering Health hospitals due to COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to a hospital network spokesperson.

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Any elective surgery that requires an overnight stay in a hospital bed will be postponed starting Wednesday, a network spokesperson said in a media release. Due to the “strain on multiple health systems” caused by the latest rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, hospital network officials said the decision was necessary to “maintain safety and high-quality care.”

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Sarah Hackenbracht, President and CEO of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association, told News Center 7 that we are in “one of the most difficult parts of the pandemic” in the Dayton area.

“We have now surpassed our peak hospitalizations in the Dayton area and we have reached a new peak of 529 hospitalizations on Monday. We’re holding steady at 525 hospitalizations today,” Hackenbracht said Wednesday.

Patients affected by the announcement will be directly notified if their procedure has been postponed, the spokesperson said.

Necessary surgeries will continue if they meet certain specifications including, threats to a patient’s life or limb if procedure is delayed, risk of progression if postponed, risk of rapidly worsening to severe symptoms if postponed and others, the spokesperson said.

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Outpatient procedures that don’t require an overnight stay, as well as urgent and emergency procedures will also continue.

Kettering Health is the second hospital network in the Miami Valley to pause elective procedures after Reid Health paused procedures in early December.

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Premier Health said some surgeries within their network are being rescheduled, but there has not been a decision to cancel all elective procedures.

“At this time, we are balancing schedules to maximize the care we can provide, including elective surgeries. When appropriate, some procedures are being rescheduled to ensure this balance. We understand that just as COVID-19 is not letting up, neither are many other health care needs in the community,” a Premier Health spokesperson said in a statement to News Center 7 Tuesday.

Hackenbracht said that when elective procedures were postponed two years ago, it was a “very, very different dynamic and scenario.”

“That was a requirement that came down from the governor and the state administration to really help hospitals open up bed space in the physical infrastructure in our hospitals and preserve the PPE we had available. At this point in time our hospitals are having to make those difficult decisions themselves,” Hackenbracht said.

Hackenbracht said that when hospitals are full with COVID-19 patients, they have a difficult time receiving patients in their emergency departments.

There is no timetable for how long this pause will last. We will update this story as we learn more.