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Prisma hospitals postpone elective inpatient surgeries due to lack of bed space, hospital says

(Miranda Parnell)
Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 5:49 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WIS) - Prisma Health announced Wednesday its hospitals will temporarily postpone elective inpatient surgeries because of a lack of bed space, hospital officials said in a release.

Elective surgeries at Greenville Memorial Hospital will be postponed on Thursday and Friday as the hospital manages the need for additional beds, officials said.

As of Wednesday, elective surgeries were also paused at Prisma Health community hospitals in the Upstate through at least Friday, Sept. 17.

Those hospitals, which include Baptist Easley Hospital, Greer Memorial Hospital, Hillcrest Hospital, Laurens County Memorial Hospital and Oconee Memorial Hospital, will continue to perform emergent and urgent surgeries on a case-by-case basis, officials said.

Patewood Hospital will continue to operate normally, for now, officials said.

Outpatient surgeries at Prisma Health’s ambulatory surgery centers are not impacted at this time.

Physician offices will contact all patients affected by this decision.

“This step is being taken to free up team members to help provide additional patient care during the current COVID-19 inpatient surge,” officials said.

Prisma Health released the following information about the COVID-19 impact on its system:

  • Rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations on Tuesday surpassed the record set during an earlier wave in January 2021.
  • Systemwide on Tuesday, 568 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, as compared to the earlier peak of 546 patients.
  • As of Wednesday, Sept. 8, the COVID-19 patient census is 566
  • Currently, 382 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19 in the Upstate and 184 in the Midlands
  • More than 90% of those patients are unvaccinated

“Unfortunately, the number of COVID-19 patients in our facilities continues to go up at an alarming rate – despite the wide availability of vaccines in our area,” Dr. Wendell James, chief clinical officer for Prisma Health in the Upstate, said. “We are actively working to ensure that patients who need care receive the care they need when they need it. But given the COVID-19 public health crisis, we must take additional steps to ensure we can manage the projected surge in COVID-19 patients to our hospitals. Given the recent Labor Day celebrations – and now as we go into fall football season – we are deeply concerned that the public is still not taking this pandemic seriously. The COVID delta variant is much more contagious than the COVID we saw during the first several months of the pandemic. Vaccination is critical to reduce this flood of new cases. We recommend everyone to vaccinate and follow precautions like social distancing, masking and hand-washing.”

Midlands hospitals have been deferring select cases when inpatient volumes require additional bed capacity for the last two weeks, officials said.

The situation will continue to be monitored on a daily basis and decisions will continue to be made in consultation with the treating physician team.

“We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, but we must take these additional steps to care for this large number of extremely sick patients,” James said.

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