Intermountain, U Of U Health Suspending Nonessential Surgeries, Procedures

Mar 16, 2020, 10:30 PM | Updated: 11:01 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — University of Utah Health and Intermountain Healthcare announced they are suspending all nonessential surgeries and procedures to free up resources in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Time-sensitive treatments like chemotherapy and other emergency visits will still be provided, officials said on Monday. Healthcare administrators said canceled procedures will be chosen and coordinated based on doctor’s recommendations.

The announcement came as a surprise to some patients, but doctors said this was something that had to happen.

“While this change may create a challenging situation for some people, it is necessary and appropriate step given the amount of growth and number of Utahns who may need hospitalization from COVID-19,” said Dr. Mark Brieacher, senior vice president and chief physician executive with Intermountain Healthcare.

In an online-only press conference meant to encourage social distancing, even with members of the media, Briesacher made it clear this decision is in line with recommendations from the U.S. Surgeon General and the Centers for Disease Control.

Kaycee Burnside is one of those patients who was just notified of her surgery being canceled.

“I was supposed to have surgery on my wrist tomorrow morning and I just received a call from my surgeon stating they needed to postpone it for the time being,” Burnside said.

Burnside said she understand that beds, supplies and doctors are critically needed in life and death scenarios, and her aching wrist can wait.

“Sure, it’s a little frustrating and I know I’ll have to redo all the paperwork, but at the end of the day, this is what’s best given the current situation,” she said.

She said when she tried to reschedule the surgery, she was told it wouldn’t be possible yet.

“They told me they will not be booking any appointments in their office that aren’t deemed an emergency,” she said.

For now, Burnside and the rest of Utah will wait, prepare and hope the COVID-19 pandemic will all be over soon.

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Intermountain, U Of U Health Suspending Nonessential Surgeries, Procedures