Her spinal surgery was postponed due to COVID-19. Here's when the state could allow it again

Posted at 8:21 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 20:48:56-04

MAINEVILLE, Ohio — It's been nearly one month since Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine ordered hospitals across the state to halt elective surgeries and procedures to conserve crucial personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.

The order left many waiting for surgery with questions, and the state hopes to have clearer answers for those patients soon.

Right now, patients like Suzie Lucke of Maineville feel stuck.

“So I’m kind of just stuck in limbo -- in pain and not able to do anything about it,” she said.

Lucke found out on March 17 she would need spinal fusion surgery to repair a herniated disc in her thoracic spine. It was the same day DeWine ordered hospitals to postpone non-essential surgeries, which Lucke’s doctors tell her this is.

“How is that not necessary surgery when I have to be careful and if I get in any type of accident it can be even worse? That’s the part that is frustrating because this can’t be considered essential because there is that what if,” she said.

Lucke says she’s anxious to get the surgery because if she gets into a serious accident and further injures her spine, she could be paralyzed.

DeWine is hoping the state could soon allow the surgeries again, but he first wants to make sure personal protective equipment to handle the COVID-19 response safely.

“That's our big goal. We are running into the same problems other states are facing. We have put together a team that is doing a good job that is not easy,” DeWine said.

DeWine has asked the Ohio Hospital Association to come up with a plan to start performing elective surgeries.

“We are committed to charting a path for resuming the suspended health care services in Ohio that ensures the health and safety of Ohioans and caregivers,” the association said in a statement Thursday.

It is currently gathering feedback from member hospitals for the plan now. Lucke just hopes she gets some answers soon.

“I just don’t like the unknown because I know what’s wrong with me. It’s finally been determined what I need,” Lucke said. “And now it’s like, well when is it going to happen? When are we going to plan our life?”

DeWine expects the Ohio Hospital Association to present that plan to bring back elective surgeries and procedures next week, but there’s no word yet on when that plan could be rolled out.