Dr. Neal ElAttrache defends orthopedic surgeries performed during COVID-19 crisis

Alan Condon -

Orthopedic surgeon Neal ElAttrache, MD, of Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles defended orthopedic procedures such as Tommy John surgery performed on professional sports players during the novel coronavirus outbreak, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

CMS on March 18 called for all elective surgeries to be delayed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since then, various MLB players have undergone Tommy John surgery, including the Boston Red Sox's Chris Sale, the San Francisco Giants' Tyler Beede and the New York Mets' Noah Syndergaard.

The Kerlan-Jobe Institute reduced Tommy John surgeries by 90 percent in the past week. However, these procedures are too important for professional sports players' livelihoods to be deemed elective, according to Dr. ElAttrache.

"We're trying to select players so we don't overtax the system," Dr. ElAttrache told the Chronicle. "If you have somebody's career at stake and they lose two seasons instead of one, I would say that is not a non-essential or unimportant elective procedure." 

The procedures are performed at private clinics rather than hospitals but Dr. ElAttrache said the Kerlan-Jobe Institute will halt all orthopedic surgeries if required, as the healthcare system continues to battle a rise in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases nationwide.

As of 9 a.m. CDT March 25, 55,243 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the U.S., with 802 deaths.

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