Primary Children's Hospital announced Monday about 50 elective, prescheduled surgeries will be delayed so the hospital can better treat the large influx of patients with RSV and other respiratory illnesses.

‘Unprecedented rise’ in RSV patients leads to more surgical delays at Children’s Hospital

The Primary Children’s Hospital announced on Monday that about 50 pre-scheduled elective surgeries will be delayed so that the hospital can better handle the large influx of patients with RSV and other respiratory illnesses. (Intermountain Health Care)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Children’s Primary Hospital announced on Monday that approximately 50 pre-scheduled elective surgeries that require patient overnight stays will be delayed so the hospital can handle the large influx of children with RSV and other respiratory diseases.

The hospital said in a statement that in order to “provide excellent care and ensure staff and resources are able to best meet the needs of patients during this busy time, the hospital is delaying as many of pre-scheduled, elective procedures and surgeries this week that would require a hospital stay whenever possible.”

These 50 surgeries represent approximately 10% of all surgeries scheduled for this week at the Children’s Elementary School. It is the second time this month that hospital administrators have made the decision to postpone elective surgeries due to high numbers of patients with respiratory illnesses.

“We don’t take this step lightly,” Dr. Andrew Pavia, the hospital’s pediatric infectious disease physician, said at a Monday afternoon news conference.

Even though the hospital has put in place many preventive measures to deal with the expected increase in the cold season, this year has seen an “unprecedented increase” in RSV accompanied by large amounts of influenza and COVID-19 cases. 19, he said.

The hospital is currently operating at full capacity for an increase, which means they have converted some clinical spaces into inpatient rooms and placed two patients in rooms that usually only hold one. Despite these efforts, Pavia said the hospital is being pushed to its limits and every day they are doing their best to help the children recover enough so they can send them home and make room to admit. other sick children.

“Our patient volumes are above typical winter peak levels, and the hospital has been at or near capacity for several weeks in a row,” said Dustin Lipson, Administrator of Primary Children’s Hospital. “This is on top of a high volume of patients presenting to the emergency room for a variety of other illnesses and injuries.”

The emergency room has set records for the number of children seen in a single day for two of the past four days, Pavia said, making it “extraordinarily busy.” The emergency team has stepped up to meet patient demand, but there is limited space available for patients, leading to the decision to delay these pre-scheduled elective surgeries, Pavia said.

We have taken this step truly as the way to provide the best and safest care to children who need it.

–Dr. Andrew Pavia, pediatric infectious disease specialist

“We took this step really as the way to provide the best and safest care for children who need it,” Pavia said. “Unfortunately, this is causing inconvenience to some families whose scheduled surgeries are being cancelled.”

Pavia said the best thing we can do to help the hospital right now is to stay out of the emergency room and keep children healthy and away from sick people. Mild symptoms in adults can easily be passed on to children, who will then have more severe symptoms potentially requiring hospital visits, he said.

“If it’s not for you, then do it for our community,” Pavia said of the flu and COVID-19 vaccination. Getting the flu shot, COVID-19 shots, wearing a mask when you have symptoms, and more can prevent illness.

Because RSV and the flu haven’t peaked yet, Pavia said the hospital expects tough weeks ahead. Children’s Primary will reassess daily if further elective surgeries will need to be delayed.

Elective surgeries that don’t require overnight stays are proceeding normally but could also be delayed if things get worse, Pavia said.

“I know how difficult this is going to be for some of our families. We wouldn’t do it if we had another choice,” Pavia said. “We are not going to delay surgery that would endanger a child. But we know it will cause inconvenience and possibly expense.”

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Cassidy Wixom covers communities in Utah County and is’s breaking news reporter.

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