COVID-19 and Elective Surgeries

15 June

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered the way most people in this country live their lives. This has readjusted our behaviors – quarantines, stay at home orders, social distancing, and more. Those who work in the medical field have also faced significant challenges, particularly as they have been forced to suspend elective surgeries.

Hawaii’s Governor Igesigned an executive order on April 16, 2020, that “…all health care facilities, health care professionals, and health care volunteers…to render assistance in support of the State’s response to the disaster recognized by the Emergency Proclamations. For health care facilities, ‘rendering assistance’…includes canceling or postponing elective surgeries and procedures as each facility determines to be appropriate under the circumstances presented by the COVID-19 emergency if elective surgeries or procedures are performed at the health care facility.”

Many healthcare facilities did suspend elective surgeries

In Hawaii and throughout the United States, most elective surgeries were postponed for a bit amount of time. However, health care facilities in Hawaii slowly restarted these surgeries in May. Elective surgeries are ones that do not involve a medical emergency. Some of the most common types of elective surgeries are mastectomies, inguinal hernia surgeries, cataract surgery, most cosmetic surgeries, and more. These procedures tend to bring in significant amounts of money for health care facilities so that they are able to continue performing emergency medical procedures for those who need them.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is far from over. While Hawaii has implemented a 14-day quarantine for anyone arriving from out of state, there is still the possibility of an outbreak in this state. Hospitals and medical facilities that perform elective procedures must take steps to ensure the safety of those under their care.

There are two serious issues to note here:

  • Performing elective surgeries unsafely and without properly screening for COVID-19 could result in patients contracting the virus.
  • Facilities that perform elective procedures may not have enough equipment to treat patients if there is a COVID-19 outbreak.

Because Governor Ige’s executive order put much of the onus on health care facilities to cancel or postpone elective surgeries and procedures as they deem appropriate, liability for any potential mistakes that are made could fall back on the facilities.

Elective surgery mistakes

It needs to be pointed out that elective surgeries are no less invasive than emergency procedures. Medical professionals must continue to perform these procedures with an adequate standard of medical care. Surgical mistakes can occur during an elective surgical procedure, and these mistakes can be devastating for victims.

Our team is ready to help

If you or somebody you love has contracted COVID-19, and you believe that the careless or negligent actions of a medical facility led to you contracting the virus, speak to an attorney immediately. At Kurzban, Kurzban, Weigner, Tetzeli, and Pratt, we understand that this is a challenging time for everybody, but we know how important it is for medical professionals and health care facility operators to respond appropriately to the ongoing pandemic. When you need a Hawaii medical malpractice attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling 866-377-3676

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