Many states have allowed elective procedures to resume, but here’s how to determine if you should reschedule your surgery now.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic may have thrown a wrench in your plans to undergo an elective surgery or other necessary medical procedure, now may be the time to reschedule it. Many states have eased restrictions, allowing hospitals and medical facilities to again schedule non-emergency procedures. And that’s good news because it means you can again take charge of your health.
This quiz can help you better determine when to reschedule a medical procedure or surgery.
True or False? If my hospital tells me they’re prepared to do my procedure, I should feel confident that they are.
- True. Many surgeries were postponed not only due to any concerns about COVID-19 but also because of a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, gloves and gowns. If a hospital has resumed elective surgeries and procedures, they have done so after carefully determining that they can safely care for patients. This means they have specific protocols in place to limit any possible exposure to COVID-19 and also have the PPE needed.
True or False? Since I’m worried about getting COVID-19 at the hospital, I should just cancel my procedure.
- False. There may be some procedures that are completely elective and can be cancelled if you choose. But if your surgery or medical procedure was originally scheduled to address a health concern, you are putting yourself at an increased risk of further complications if you put off the procedure longer than you have to. It’s important to carefully weigh the risks of possible exposure to COVID-19 with the often greater risks of not taking care of ongoing health issues.
True or False? I shouldn’t reschedule surgery because things have not returned to “normal” yet.
- False. COVID-19 has caused many things to be different – and they will likely remain so for a long time. This can make going to a hospital scary or uncomfortable. But avoiding necessary medical procedures can be costly to your health in the long run. You may not be able to have visitors and may feel uneasy about being in the hospital right now, but it’s important to think about what’s best for your overall health. In many cases, having your surgery or medical procedure done sooner rather than later is the best way to stay healthy.
True or False? The decision about whether to schedule or delay my surgery needs to be made with my doctor.
- True. It is best to talk to your doctor about when you should reschedule a non-emergency procedure. He or she can determine whether delaying your procedure further will result in a poorer outcome and can also answer any questions you may have about what will be done to keep you as safe as possible while you’re in the hospital. Delaying or rescheduling surgery should be an individual decision based on factors particular to you – and the decision should be made in conjunction with a trusted health professional.
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Date Last Reviewed: May 12, 2020
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD