Cedar Rapids hospitals limit elective surgeries requiring overnight stay, majority of procedures happening on time

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 6:17 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Earlier this month UnityPoint Health St. Luke’s and Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids announced they would be limiting elective surgeries because of an increase in COVID-19 patients. The news worried Kirsten Corrigan of Marion whose 20-year-old son Ryan has been awaiting a feeding tube.

”Because Ryan technically can eat and drink we were concerned it would be elective,” Corrigan told us.

Ryan was shaken by a daycare provider when he was 9 months old.

”As a result of it he has significant, he has quadriplegia which is, which puts him in the wheelchair. And he has a lot of cognitive delay,” Corrigan explained.

He’s had numerous illnesses over the last year that landed him in the hospital, that’s what prompted his family to decide on a feeding tube.

“There’s really risk to him in eating or drinking when he has respiratory symptoms or when he’s sick or tired,” Corrigan said.

Last week Ryan got the welcome news that his surgery is scheduled for later this month and is not going to be delayed.

We asked both hospitals in Cedar Rapids which types of procedures are being delayed right now.

”What’s being delayed is elective cases, total joint replacement, perhaps some of the plastic procedures, some of the ear nose and throat procedures that really are elective, that can be delayed without causing significant harm to the patient,” Dr. Dustin Arnold told us, Chief Medical Officer at UnityPoint Health St. Luke’s.

Dr. Arnold said St. Luke’s is keeping a limit of 10 surgeries per day that require the patient to stay overnight, they’re delaying just 25% of elective procedures.

Dr. Tim Quinn at Mercy Medical Center told us something similar in a statement: “Since early September, Mercy has been limiting the daily number of elective surgeries that require a post-surgery hospital stay to 10, which is about a 30% decrease.  The number of elective surgeries (with a post-hospital stay) we perform is evaluated on a daily basis and we adjust as necessary, based on both patient census and staffing levels.  We are rescheduling additional elective surgeries this week due to persistently high volumes.”

St. Luke’s said staffing plays a role in their current limits on overnight stays as well.

”Not only do you need a bed you need a person to care for that and sometimes we just don’t have the space,” Dr. Arnold explained.

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