As more return to hospitals for elective surgeries, patients feel COVID-19 jitters
Hospitals have been given the green light to resume elective surgeries, but the fear of contracting the coronavirus has some patients passing over having their procedures.
Felicia Napper's knee replacement surgery has been postponed several times due to the pandemic. But when coronavirus cases lessened in late April and the governor permitted elective surgeries to resume, her surgery was back on for late May.
"They told me you're clear to get your surgery," says Napper "I was like oh, my heart started racing like it's actually here."
Napper says her concerned were eased when she went for surgery at Syosset Hospital. It's the only facility at Northwell Health that is completely free of COVID-19 cases.
"We felt like if we really went over the top to provide a safe environment, it'll take the patients that have been delaying, in some cases, really necessary procedures, it'll take them and give them that sense of confidence that we've done everything we can to provide as safe an environment as possible," says Northwell Health Regional Executive Director and Senior VP Steve Bello.
Five weeks ago, Northwell cleared Syosset Hospital of COVID-19 patients to prepare the facility to focus on the care of non-coronavirus patients. A top-to-bottom sterilization of the building followed.
The measures were taken to calm fears patients may have about getting surgery while the pandemic continues.
"Now that COVID is entering into a longer phase, delaying these cases could really result in patient harm," says Bello.
Syosset Hospital also put protocols in place designed to keep patients and staff safe from getting infected. Rule No. 1 -- masks are mandatory in the building.
Once inside, entrants are given a temperature check with a touchless thermometer. All patients are screened for COVID-19 symptoms and asked to quarantine before surgery. No visitors are allowed.
Napper says those measures ultimately put her mind at ease.
"It's a pandemic-free hospital now so I felt comfortable," says Napper.