An estimated 28 million elective surgeries have been postponed during the COVID-19 pandemic and response worldwide, according to a study published in the British Journal of Surgery.
Giana Davidson, a general surgeon at the University of Washington Medical Center, partnered with the team of surgeons that conducted the study. Davidson says the cancellation of surgeries has impacted the medical communities beyond just financial losses.
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“These delays may have significant impact on our patient’s quality of life, the ability to do their work, or care for their loved ones,” Davidson said. “As we start the process of re-opening, it is critical that we also strive for equitable access to surgical care across the communities we serve.”
Following guidelines of Gov. Inslee’s stay-at-home order, UW Medicine started postponing non-urgent, elective surgeries on March 16, 2020. The UW reported a 65 percent drop in total surgeries over the 12-week period.
On Monday, Inslee announced that elective surgeries, medical, and dental care can resume as long as providers and offices can meet health and safety protocols, including being able to provide personal protective gear and account for surge capacity.
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Based on the study in the British Journal of Surgery, less than 30 percent of scheduled elective surgeries are expected to take place in 2020, with the cancellation rate projected at just over 72 percent. Published May 15, the study indicates that each additional week of the disruption to services could lead to 2.4

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