‘We Are Not Just Protecting The Patient’: Before You Go Into Surgery, You May Be Tested For Coronavirus
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There are new protocols in place if you are going to the hospital for surgery amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Larry Wirick needs a new heart valve. His operation was supposed to be in mid-March.
“Two days prior to my surgery, I got a call saying, ‘Canceled,’” Wirick said.
He wondered when, if ever, he’d have the procedure. Then the doctor’s office called back.
“It was going to be May 13. I felt relieved,” Wirick said.
So on May 7, a week out from surgery, he had preoperative bloodwork, a check-up and testing for coronavirus, in that order.
He also had to quarantine after being tested.
“We have to have a test close enough to the operation that they don’t get infected between the test and the date of the operation. But also, not so close to it that we don’t have the results,” says St. Clair Hospital Chief of Cardiac Surgery Dr. Andy Kiser. “I think it’s important for our patients to be tested because they’re at such high risk of having problems if they have the virus. And if they did, we could still take care of them, but at a higher level of caution. We are not just protecting the patient. We are protecting the people that take care of the patient. And there can be nine people in the heart room.”
Wirick lives with his wife and 21-year-old son and does not expect to test positive.
“We are not concerned because we know who he’s with. My wife and I, we are not around people. I wish we could go tomorrow for the surgery,” Wirick said.
Whether he tests positive or negative, Dr. Kaiser will still proceed with the surgery. He and his team will take precautions either way.