Some 28.4 million planned surgeries could be cancelled or postponed globally due to the new coronavirus pandemic, according to new research warning that huge backlogs risk “potentially devastating” consequences for patients and health systems.
The study, published this week in the British Journal of Surgery, modelled the expected number of elective operations that would be put on hold in 190 countries during a 12-week peak of COVID-19 disruption.
Hospitals in countries grappling with major coronavirus outbreaks have postponed most non-emergency procedures to avoid putting patients at risk, redeploying staff and resources to the virus response.
Researchers from the COVIDSurg Collaborative, an information sharing network of surgeons and anaesthetists in 77 countries, estimated that some 2.4 million operations would be cancelled per week in the period, or 28.4 million in total.
They called on governments to urgently develop recovery plans to clear the backlog of surgeries and prepare for possible further waves of COVID-19 infection.
“Cancelling elective surgery at this scale will have substantial impact on patients and cumulative, potentially devastating consequences for health systems worldwide,” the authors said.
“Delaying time-sensitive elective operations, such as cancer or transplant surgery, may lead to deteriorating health, worsening quality of life, and unnecessary deaths.”
Globally, around 82 percent of benign surgeries, 38 percent of cancer operations and around a quarter of elective Caesarean sections would be cancelled or postponed, the study found.
It said that it would take an average of 45 weeks to clear the backlog, assuming that countries boost their normal surgical volume by 20 percent.
The researchers used survey data from specialists at 359 hospitals in 71 countries, as well as information on normal surgery rates to model the likely effect across 190 countries.
Their estimate that the peak surge of infections would last around 12 weeks was based on the experience of China’s Hubei province, where the virus emerged.
© 2020 AFP
Texas GOP sues Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner over canceled in-person convention
The gathering, which was estimated to draw around 6,000 people, was set to happen next week in Houston.
The Republican Party of Texas is suing Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and others involved with the canceling of the party's in-person convention, which was scheduled to happen next week.
On Wednesday, Houston First Corporation, the operator of the George R. Brown Convention Center, sent a letter to party officials informing them that the event had been canceled. That cancelation happened after Turner announced he was directing the city's legal department to work with Houston First to review the contract for the event.
Texas bans elective surgeries in more than 100 counties as coronavirus hospitalizations keep climbing
Gov. Greg Abbott said the decision is designed to free up more resources to address the pandemic.
With cases of the new coronavirus and related hospitalizations rising at alarming rates, Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday expanded his ban on elective medical procedures to cover more than 100 counties across much of the state.
Surgeries and other procedures that are not “immediately, medically” necessary — which have already been on hold in many of the state’s biggest cities and several South Texas counties — are now barred in much of the state, from far West Texas to much of Central Texas, Southeast Texas and the Gulf Coast.
White House says a lot of Americans are having that elective surgery they’ve been putting off since the pandemic
The White House is refusing to accept the fact that hospitalizations in coronavirus hotspot cities are spiking and ICU beds in many areas are near or over-capacity.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Thursday that the increase in hospitalizations across the country are due to "elective surgeries," and not COVID-19 patients fighting for their lives.
NBC News' Peter Alexander, noting that hospitalizations are up 50% asked McEnany, "How could the president say the country is in good shape right now?"
"Hospitalizations in a lot of these hospitals," McEnany replied, "about 10 to 40% are COVID, so a lot of hospitalizations aren't pertaining to COVID."