Coronavirus Advisory: Our Lady of the Lake expands surgical care today, sponsored by Our Lady of the Lake

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With the number of new COVID-19 cases leveling off, Our Lady of the Lake resumed surgical services today for patients with pressing medical needs.

Non-elective surgeries that had been suspended for the past month are resuming at Our Lady of the Lake’s Regional Medical Center, Children’s Hospital, the Perkins Surgery Center and at Our Lady of the Lake Ascension.

All patients who may be COVID-19 positive are isolated and cohorted to ensure the safety of other patients, team members and guests. Patients who come for surgery will receive care in completely separate areas and will be cared for by separate clinical staff, said Scott Wester, president and chief executive officer.

“Our patients are receiving safe, effective surgical care today thanks to extraordinary innovations and relentless efforts of our very skilled and dedicated people throughout the organization,” Wester added.

Special measures have been put in place to ensure surgery patients safety, including thorough pre-op screening and/or testing for COVID-19 that begins 10 days before scheduled surgery, said Catherine O’Neal, MD, chief medical officer and an infectious disease specialist for Our Lady of the Lake.

Surgery patients also will be advised to self quarantine at home until the day of surgery to reduce the risk that they develop COVID-19 before or shortly after having surgery, she said.

“We’ve taken enormous strides to separate patients with signs of COVID from all others,” Dr. O’Neal said.

Today is a careful first step toward resuming broader surgical services following Louisiana Department of Health’s easing of restrictions on non-emergency surgery during the COVID-19 crisis.

Among the first surgeries performed will be for cancer patients whose procedures had been put on hold, and any patient scheduled for non-elective surgery whose condition or outcome could be worse if delayed further, said Phillip Allen, MD, an ear, nose and throat specialist who helped develop special measures around resuming surgery at Our Lady of the Lake.

“Everything about this crisis is wholly unprecedented,” he said. “We have a well thought-out plan to gradually increase surgical services.”