Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth is postponing all elective surgeries until October 11th or later. Hospital officials say they need all available staff and bed space to deal with a surge of COVID-19 patients on top of the regular demand for medical care for other illnesses.
"We have continued to see a very high census, both in the emergency department and in the hospital with our bedded patients," said Chief Nursing Officer Cheryl Petersen. "We continue to see with respiratory viral illness, bronchiolitis and COVID infected patients. We've had as many as 51 COVID positive patients in the medical center. Our neonatal intensive care unit has been full of newborn or premature infants requiring hospitalization. We made the very tough decision to reschedule some of our elective surgeries."
Cook Children's has also been diverting some patients to other facilities when beds are not available. Hospital officials say other children's hospitals around the state are experiencing similar difficulties.
"It's unfortunate that we are physically unable to care for all of the children who need us right now. If we have to divert a patient away from Cook Children's, we ensure we find them an appropriate facility, though that may be several hours away from home or even in another state," said Peterson.
Hospital officials hope to resume elective surgeries next month, but say that will depend in part upon the number of COVID-19 patients they are treating.
"This is not a decision our administrative team takes lightly," said Stan Davis, Chief Operating Officer at Cook Children’s Health Care System. "Elective surgeries are not synonymous with cosmetic or unnecessary procedures. These are children who require surgical intervention to improve their health and well-being. We are doing everything in our power to ensure every child who needs us is taken care of."