Indiana’s largest healthcare system to resume elective surgeries

Indiana’s largest hospital system is planning to resume elective surgeries soon after postponing them for months as COVID-19 patients and other critically ill patients overwhelmed its hospitals across the state.

Indiana University officials said Thursday some elective procedures could resume next week in the Indianapolis-based system, which operates 16 hospitals.

IU Health has thousands of elective surgeries pending, procedures that are medically necessary but can usually be scheduled at the patient’s convenience, such as hip replacements and tonsil removals, said Dr. Paul Calkins, vice president and deputy chief medical officer. .

He said elective operations will slowly resume “because we still have a significant COVID burden.”

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“It will take some time to get back to serving all these people who are waiting for us. But we hope to get to everyone as quickly as possible,” Calkins said on Thursday.

He said that IU Health continues to do emergency and emergency surgeries, such as those for cancer, gunshot wounds, and heart attacks. As the state’s largest hospital system, it typically performs over 70,000 surgeries per year.

IU Health was treating 567 hospitalized COVID-19 patients across its system as of Thursday, but down about 15% from a peak of 669 on Jan. 9, officials said. Cases of COVID-19 make up about 30% of the total number of patients in the system.

About 70% of COVID-19 cases at IU Health hospitals are in unvaccinated patients, but the figure is as high as 90% in intensive care units, said Dr. Chris Weaver, chief medical officer.

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