Novant Health hospital delays spine, other surgeries, cites spike in ER demand


Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, N.C., has rescheduled 26 surgeries, including spine cases, over the next week that would have required an overnight stay, NBC affiliate WECT reported July 28.

One patient, Gary Rumbolo, told the news outlet he has been waiting to undergo spinal fusion at the hospital since December. The procedure was on the books for May, but a scheduling conflict between the neurosurgeon and ENT surgeon pushed the surgery back to July 28, according to the report. 

Now, Mr. Rumbolo told the news outlet, his "surgery has been canceled because of short staff at the hospital" and that all surgeries other than those linked to treat life-threatening conditions have been put on hold until Aug. 15.

A hospital spokesperson provided the following statement to WECT: "We proactively decided to reschedule 26 surgical cases over the next week that would have required an overnight stay. We made this decision in part to help increase capacity due to demands of patients coming through the emergency department, which can see spikes in volume in the summer months as our region's population swells. 

"We also see more traumatic injury patients from across the region that need emergent surgery. For context, the affected cases represent less than 3 percent of our weekly surgical patients. We understand these delays aren't ideal for impacted patients, but we appreciate our surgeons for making case-by-case decisions to ensure we are best prepared to meet the needs of the community."

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