DeWine urges doctors, patients to discuss moving forward with postponed procedures

Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – Governor Mike DeWine said Wednesday that doctors and health care providers can now consider moving forward with some elective procedures.

Dr. Amy Acton issued an order in March postponing elective surgery in order to conserve PPE and bed space that was anticipated to be in need to care for a surge of COVID-19 patients. Because the state has managed to avoid the massive spike in cases that was originally feared, the gradual process of resuming surgeries can begin, DeWine says.

He is now asking health care providers in hospitals and outpatient surgery centers to reassess procedures that were postponed and reach out to patients who have been waiting. For new or other chronic conditions, providers and patients together may consider moving forward with diagnostic procedures.

However, he stresses that patients must be made aware of the risk of contracting COVID-19 and the risk during the post-operative recovery process in order to make informed decisions.

A Beavercreek woman told 2 NEWS she had surgery Wednesday morning – roughly six weeks after her operation was originally scheduled.

“I’m not going to lie – I cried,” said Danielle Lang. “There was a lot of tears from pain.”

Lang spoke with 2 NEWS from her hospital bed, hours after a procedure she said was long overdue. She has a spinal condition and was finally allowed to have her surgery after her neurological symptoms became worse, she said.

“I was very weak,” Lang said. “I had trouble picking up things. And these rubber bands around my arms were getting tighter and tighter around my biceps.”

Lang blames a lack of guidelines in the state order issued last month postponing elective surgeries.

State officials admitted Wednesday the order put off procedures they had no intention of stopping.

“It’s very disturbing to me as a physician, it’s very disturbing to the governor to learn about situations in which there are people who have had some symptoms that I do not think are non-essential,” Dr. Acton said.

Health care providers should start reaching out to their patients to discuss procedures that were delayed and make a decision on how to proceed, DeWine said.

“It will vary slightly based on the individual facilities and how they schedule surgeries,” explained Sarah Hackenbracht, president and CEO of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association. “But that individual provider-to-patient relationship is what needs to be at the forefront.”

Lang told 2 NEWS she’ll be able to go to her follow-up appointments over the next few weeks. She said believes the voices of patients across Ohio are being heard.

“I just want to see other people get the help they need more than anything in the world,” Lang said.

An order with more specifics about which types of procedures can take place will be issued in the coming weeks as the state talks with health care providers to come up with those guidelines, DeWine said.

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