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Penn State Health to suspend nonessential surgeries

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Move designed to protect patients, physicians and staff as part of COVID-19 response

Penn State Health will begin suspending nonessential, elective surgeries on Thursday morning (March 19). The health system is communicating directly with affected patients of Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center about any changes to their surgical care.

On Monday morning (March 16), all Penn State Health surgeons were asked to start conducting a case-by-case review of their operating room schedules with the intent of canceling all nonessential, elective procedures. The move is part of extensive plans to respond to the COVID-19 issue, and precautions designed to protect the health system’s patients, physicians and staff. Cancelling nonessential, elective surgeries will help Penn State Health preserve medical supplies and personal protective equipment that may be needed to care for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is important to note that the term ‘elective’ when used to describe surgical care is extremely broad in scope,” said Dr. Peter Dillon, executive vice president and chief clinical officer, Penn State Health. “There are some procedures we perform that may appear to be routine but that, if canceled, could result in significant negative impact on a patient’s health. This is why case-by-case reviews are vital.”

Penn State Health will continue to provide urgent and essential surgical care for all patients who need it.

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