GEORGE NEWS - Mediclinic George cancelled all elective surgeries as a result of the second wave of Covid-19 infections at the end of last year.
"The decision was not based on the risk of infection, as all protocols are in place to ensure our patients' safety, but rather to increase potential capacity for Covid-related admissions. Capacity at the hospital was under pressure," said Dr Gerrit de Villiers, chief clinical officer of Mediclinc Southern Africa.
He responded to a query from George Herald regarding long waiting times for elective surgery for people who are urgently in need of elective surgery.
A woman who needs a hip replacement had told the newspaper she was in terrible pain and immobile, but there seemed to be no possibility of an operation soon.
De Villiers said there is no "formal" waiting list for surgery at Mediclinic George. "Certain procedures that are seen as urgent or life-threatening have continued. The situation is being monitored on a daily basis, with the availability of beds and ability to provide escalated care (high care or ICU) being considered, should the surgery require this. If no escalated care is required, a surgeon may consider a surgery and proceed if he believes it is safe to do so."
He said some elective work is continuing at Mediclinic Geneva.
"The hospital is cautiously optimistic that the second wave is passing in the region, and we have noted a slight decrease in the number of Covid-related admissions."
He said Mediclinic George was grateful towards the community for their encouragement and support of healthcare workers. "Letters, snacks and messages of encouragement continue to pour in, and this has made a noted impact on the morale of the staff."
Only most urgent surgery
Western Cape Health Department district spokesperson Nadia Ferreira said George Hospital continues to prioritise only the most urgent surgery. "We will resume limited elective surgery when the number of inpatients with Covid-19 reduces further."
Covid-19 admissions remain relatively high. "The hospital currently has 47 Covid-19 admissions of whom 13 are in high care. The Garden Route district has 121 Covid-19 hospital admissions as at 19 January," said Ferreira.
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