DeWine says it's time to re-assess, allow elective surgeries

Posted at 2:00 PM, Apr 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 16:16:03-04

During his Wednesday afternoon press briefing about the status of COVID-19 in Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine said he believes it's an appropriate time to reassess the status of elective surgeries.

Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health, included halting elective surgeries during an order on March 17. Since then elective surgeries have not been allowed and medical providers were instructed to postpone or reschedule them. DeWine and Acton said this order had unintended consequences, with care providers postponing surgeries that were not entirely elective and should not have been postponed.

"I can tell you that, anecdotally at least, from some of the stories that I’ve heard, that some of the procedures, some of the surgeries that we had no intention of stopping have been postponed, and frankly, that has concerned me a great deal," said DeWine. "We're starting back now, starting back one step at a time."

He did not elaborate on what types of surgeries this included, but said he believes physicians and patients can now begin to discuss whether moving forward with elective surgeries that were previously postponed should be safe to accomplish.

Dr. Acton said she would issue an order later on Wednesday with official clarification of what is considered an elective procedure, and which qualifications should be considered before postponing or denying a patient care.

She said she was particularly concerned about patients who'd had a change in their quality of life due to an increase in pain since having a procedure postponed.

"If you’re at home and if you’re having a change in your clinical condition, please reach out to your doctor," said Acton.

DeWine said physicians with patients whose procedures have been postponed should reach out to patients to have a conversation on whether or not it is prudent or important to move forward with their surgeries. The decision should be a joint one, between doctors and patients, said DeWine, but he encouraged opening the lines of communication so both parties can determine how to move forward.