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Time-sensitive Surgeries, Procedures Resume

April 17, 2020
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DETROIT – Time-sensitive surgeries and procedures for non-COVID patients will resume at five Henry Ford Health System hospital locations, system leaders announced this week.

“We have seen some decreases in COVID patients, which places us more in a plateau stage in this pandemic,” said Betty Chu, M.D., associate chief clinical officer and chief quality officer, during a system update on Thursday. “This is a great reason for hope, and we hope that we’re continuing to flatten the curve.”

As a result, the System is opening a “Portal of Opportunity” to resume surgeries and procedures that were halted March 16 with the onset of the pandemic. Since then, Henry Ford medical staff continued performing treatments and surgeries only for life-threatening, emergent conditions, as well as urgent transplants.

The portal is opening for non-emergent yet time-sensitive procedures, like cancer surgeries and biopsies, elective serious cardiac procedures and serious spine cases.

“We understand that cancer and transplants and heart disease and so many other afflictions don’t get put on hold during this COVID-related challenge,” said Steven Kalkanis, M.D., CEO of the Henry Ford Medical Group and senior vice president and chief academic officer. “As of right now, we can declaratively say that we’re safely in that plateau phase and hopefully in a recovery situation where we can begin to think very specifically about how to reopen some aspects of critical care for patients who need us the most.”

One or two operating suites are reopening at each of the health system’s five hospitals – Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Henry Ford Macomb Hospital in Clinton Township, Henry Ford Allegiance Hospital in Jackson, Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital in Wyandotte and Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital in West Bloomfield. A non-COVID team will be dedicated to each suite, with a testing and sterilization process for both patients and staff.

“We’re doing it in a way that we can ramp up over the next several days and into the coming weeks,” Dr. Kalkanis said. “We want to be very careful that we do it in a way that preserves our resources so that we are still able to take whatever comes our way, in terms of necessity for ICU beds and other inpatient needs.”

Medical staff will be systematically calling patients whose procedures had been put on hold to reschedule. Patients are asked to wait to contact their doctor’s office so staff is not overwhelmed with calls. Eventually, about 8,400 procedures that were cancelled since mid-March will all be rescheduled as space, personnel and COVID-related safety guidelines allow, officials said.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Tammy Battaglia / Tbattag1@hfhs.org / 248.881.0809.