Cook Children’s Halts Elective (Non-Emergent) Surgeries Due to Staff and Bed Shortage Amid Latest COVID-19 Surge
Due to the latest surge of COVID-19, Cook Children’s Medical Center is rescheduling all elective surgeries that require inpatient admission to Oct. 11 or later. We’re taking this extraordinary step to utilize Cook Children’s perioperative RNs in other areas of the hospital, including ICUs. As reported in the media week after week, pediatric beds in our community are scarce and Cook Children’s is no exception. For the past month, we have evaluated elective surgeries on a case-by-case basis and rescheduled as needed. As more and more inpatient beds are needed with no end in sight, the situation is dire, and this strategy will no longer suffice. There are only so many beds available and we must provide room for critically ill children who must be hospitalized.
“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 wellbeing. We are doing everything in our power to ensure every child who needs us is taken care of.”
In addition to rescheduling elective surgeries, we are having to divert patients away from Cook Children’s when beds are not available. This does not just affect children with COVID-19, but kids with all sorts of medical issues from traumatic accidents to new diagnoses. new onset diabetic ketoacidosis. Children’s hospitals across the state are experiencing a similar situation. To do our part, Cook Children’s is also taking patients from other regions whenever possible.
“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 Cheryl Petersen, Chief Nursing Officer at Cook Children’s.
Right now, we’re asking for patience and understanding as we work to handle the burden COVID-19 is weighing on our health care system. But we need your help. Please get the COVID-19 vaccine for yourself and all eligible children. It is safe and effective. In fact, half of the COVID-19 patients we have treated since the vaccine was approved for children 12 and up have been unvaccinated teenagers. To date, we have not treated a single vaccinated patient for severe COVID-19.
Here are some other steps you can take to help us slow the spread of this virus:
- Send your child to school in a mask. Ask them to keep it on at all times unless outside or eating.
- All children in school over age 2 should be masking indoors. School districts should strive for universal masking right now.
- Quarantine all children who come in contact with a COVID+ child if unmasked and for longer than 15 minutes indoors.
- Please keep your sick children home from school.
- Postpone indoor gatherings.
- If you have to gather, go outside.
- Limit the number of people who can attend sporting or theatrical events at schools so there can be spacing between families.
- Stay at least six feet away from others outside of your immediate family.
For 103 years, our community has supported Cook Children’s to ensure the children in our care have the very best medical treatment. We need your support now more than ever. There is no way out of this dark time without your help.