Is Surgery Safe During a Pandemic?

Surgeries and procedures are being rescheduled

Surgeries and procedures are being rescheduled at Renown Health after they were postponed for over two months due to the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis. But, is it safe to visit the hospital for surgeries? Renown Health’s Vice President and Chair of the Department of Surgery, Dr. Galanopoulos, shared the precautions being taken to keep patients safe.

Surgeries and procedures are being rescheduled starting Monday, May 11. In March, Renown Health made the careful decision to postpone non-emergency surgeries due to the rise in cases of COVID-19 in Washoe County. This was a precautious measure to give Renown enough time to prepare for a potential surge in cases while keeping patients safe.

Since that time, Renown Health has fully prepared to help the Northern Nevada community in the case of a surge. Renown even built a temporary care site with 700 beds within a week.

Same Excellent Care, Provided in a New Way

Although Renown is now rescheduling surgeries and procedures previously postponed, Dr. Galanopoulos would like to make it clear that a lot of changes have been made to ensure the safety and well-being of patients and staff.

Patients who are scheduled to have a medically-necessary surgery are screened for respiratory symptoms. Patients who have respiratory symptoms, such as a fever or cough, will have their surgery rescheduled. Those who do not have any symptoms will be given a COVID-19 test to make sure that they do not have the virus. Staff at Renown follow strict guidelines and are regularly screened for signs of respiratory illness.

RELATED: Avoid Viruses, Colds and the Flu With Expert Hand-Washing Advice

Medically-Necessary vs. Emergency Surgery

A “medically-necessary” surgery is one that can improve our overall health. Hip replacement, gall bladder removals and hernia surgery might all be considered medically-necessary. Usually these surgeries are planned for far in advance with a team of specialists.

Emergency surgeries are often unexpected, and can include appendix removals and surgeries for traumatic injuries. 

Visitor Restrictions Still in Place

While we understand the importance of in-hospital patients having friends, family and loved ones by their side, to help protect against flu and other respiratory illnesses, Renown hospitals have visitor restrictions

Patients are encouraged to stay in touch with friends, family and loved ones virtually.

The Changing Situation is Evaluated

Dr. Galanopoulos shared that the changing number of COVID-19 cases in Northern Nevada is constantly evaluated to make sure that there is enough capacity for care of patients who have recently had a surgery. This means that in the case of a sudden surge, Renown would once again postpone surgeries. Your health and well-being is Renown’s number one priority, and a surgery would never be scheduled if it would put you at risk.


COVID-19 Care

Renown Health is prepared to safely screen, diagnose and care for patients with respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, including COVID-19.

Get the Latest Updates