Elective surgeries have resumed in Illinois under Gov. J.B. Pritzker's modified stay-at-home order, but with safety an even bigger priority, changes are in store.
At Midwest Orthopaedics at RUSH, patients will be tested for coronavirus before surgery. On the day of the procedure, patients will undergo a temperature screening at check-in and loved ones will drop patients off at the hospital or surgery centers. They will not be allowed to wait in the hospital, but will be called to pick up the patient afterward. During the procedure, a shield is being placed between the patient and the anesthesia team.
Orthopaedic surgeron Dr. Richard Berger is eager to get back to the operating room and says safety continues to be a main focus for healthcare providers.
“We assume that patients have things that we don't want and we don't want our patients to get what we've had, so we've been doing this for decades now and with COVID we're just upping that a teeny little bit more,” Berger said.
And even with additional precautions, some things will remain the same, he noted.
“We're just taking precautions all over, just like we've always done, with face mask and face shields. We operate in actually spacesuits and we've been doing that for three decades now,” Berger said.
Safety precautions at practices may vary, so anyone with a surgery scheduled should verify what protocols are in place.
Craig Pelligrini will be among the patients undergoing an elective surgery during the coronavirus pandemic.
For years, Pelligrini swam and ran races, but pain has left him sidelined for months.
“It's painful, depending on what I do, and my range of motion is very limited on the right side,” Pellegrini said.
Eager to run again, the 55-year-old from Downers Grove decided in January to have his right hip replaced and set the surgery date for late April - until the coronavirus pandemic put it on hold. After waiting weeks, Pellegrini’s surgery is rescheduled for this week.
Pelligrini admits he is nervous about the surgery, but not about the coronavirus.
“I'm probably safer going there than to the grocery store the way I look at it,” he said.