Nonurgent surgeries across the U.S. are being canceled as COVID-19 cases surge and hospitals face critical staffing shortages. Most of the time, the surgeries are canceled well in advance. But for one patient in California, that wasn't the case.
Joe Sanders, a 74-year-old patient, was prepped for his spine surgery and left waiting on a gurney for three hours before being told he wouldn't be able to undergo the procedure, according to a Cal Matters report.
"I have some bad news for you," Mr. Sanders' surgeon told him at his bedside. The surgery would have to be postponed because there wasn't enough operating room staff.
Around 25 percent of U.S. hospitals have a critical staffing shortage, according to HHS, and last week California updated its policy to allow healthcare workers who test positive for COVID-19, but are asymptomatic, to return to work immediately.
New York is requiring several hospitals, and hospital-owned surgery centers, to halt nonurgent surgeries, and hospitals across the U.S. are also postponing procedures amid the latest surge of COVID-19.