UNC REX begins rescheduling medical procedures postponed due to COVID-19


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The coronavirus pandemic forced thousands of patients in North Carolina and across the country were forced to postpone surgeries that can prevent long-term health problems.

Now, UNC REX Healthcare is re-scheduling procedures.

“The physicians are really looking at each individual patient and looking at what their disease process is. What the risks are. But, they’re also considering any comorbidities somebody might have (such as) whether they’re diabetic, what their ages age is, (or) how many resources might be used in the hospital for that patient,” said chief medical officer Dr. Linda Butler.

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“We are still learning to balance taking care of COVID patients. And then there are all these other patients that still need care. We are in a position now to be able to do so safely so we can go back and start doing more of our semi-elective procedures.”

According to UNC REX, patients can expect a wellness screening and a temperature check. Everyone must wear a mask. Surgical patients will be tested for COVID-19 a few days before their procedure.

“For the majority of our patients, their tests have come back negative. We have had three positive tests. Those cases, at this point, have canceled or rescheduled so that we’re not inviting a known infection into the facility if we don’t have to,” said associate vice president of surgeries Chad Anderson.

“It’s another level of safety, and that’s what we’re trying to achieve for the patient and for the staff.”

As of Monday, UNC REX in Raleigh had 14 people hospitalized because of coronavirus. There are plenty of beds with the patient census recently trending up from 50 to 60%. However, it’s not known how many people are avoiding the emergency department for non-coronavirus issues.

There is concern that, for some, that could be a fatal decision.

“What we don’t know is who are the patients who are sitting home that potentially need care and maybe are so scared and that they are not pursuing it? And I think that it’s opportunities like this to communicate, ‘Hey, we do need to get back.’ Our job is to be a business, but it’s also to take care of the community and we want to be able to take down some of those barriers and show that this is an OK place to come,” Anderson said.

Butler added: “We’ve got good processes in place they will get great care when they come here, as they would in any healthcare facility because they are our main focus. Our main priority is to keep patients and our coworkers safe.”

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