Grand Strand hospitals implementing COVID-19 surge strategies, re-evaluating elective surgeries


MURRELLS INLET, S.C (WBTW) — Several Grand Strand region hospitals are re-evaluating, and even postponing, some elective procedures amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Tidelands Health, Grand Strand Health, and specific McLeod Health hospitals (Seacoast and Loris) are limiting procedures to ones that are time sensitive. As of Friday, Conway Medical Center is going ahead with surgeries as scheduled.

Tidelands Health is at 105% capacity at its two hospitals. Gayle Resetar, chief operating officer, said the hospitals needs the beds for the critically ill.

“We put that decision off as long as we could because we know from the first phase of the pandemic that pushing off people’s health care is not a good thing either,” Resetar said.

Resetar said Tidelands emergency room volume is currently as high as it was in the two earlier surges of the pandemic. She said the hospital group plans on rescheduling patients for a month from now, hoping the number of coronavirus patients drops from current levels in the 40s each day.

“It’s not like we’re going to be back to normal in a week, but we’re going to watch this closely every week,” Resetar said. “Every day, really. Especially for the time sensitive surgeries.”

Grand Strand Health said procedures are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

“We will never cancel or postpone any surgeries where a delay might negatively impact a patient’s health or turn their situation into an emergency,” Grand Strand Health said in a statement to News13.

Dr. Dale Lusk, McLeod Health chief medical officer, said factors like procedure need, type, staff availability, and bed availability all hold weight in the decision to go through with or postpone surgeries.

It’s numbers,” Lusk said. “It’s strictly flow within the hospital. It’s the type of patient that’s coming in and the type of surgery that’s being done.”

Lusk said rescheduling a procedure is not easy on patients.

“That’s a life changing thing,” Lusk said. “People take time off of work. They prepare, typically, with family to help them in recovery, so it’s a big deal to have to take that off.”

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