Surgeries shunted back again as Covid cases fill up hospitals

Doctors unable to say when massive backlog might be cleared.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: TASR)

Doctors have said they have no idea when they will be able to clear a massive backlog of delayed medical procedures amid warnings tens of thousands of people may see operations and examinations postponed as a result of Slovakia’s third wave of Covid infections.

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Last month, healthcare officials ordered a stop to all non-urgent medical procedures in Slovak hospitals as they began to fill with Covid patients amid record infection rates.

As of December 15, there were 3,107 patients in hospital with Covid. Although the figure had been falling gradually over the previous seven days and some experts believe that the peak of the third wave may now have been reached, doctors have told The Slovak Spectator the effects of so many hospitalisations on non-Covid treatments is still being felt.

“We believe that the postponement of planned surgeries will be as short as possible,” Dr Róbert Čellár of the Louis Pasteur University Hospital in Košice, told The Slovak Spectator.

“As soon as possible [after] the third wave, we will contact patients and order new hospitalization dates. Of course, we cannot say the exact date [the rescheduled procedures will take place] at this time.”

He added the hospital was doing all it could to minimise the number of postponed surgeries.

“Our aim is to treat the maximum number of non-Covid patients whose medical condition requires surgery,” he said. “Procedures for patients with oncological and emergency conditions, or with infections, have not been postponed, and we have also treated patients with other diseases whose postponement could negatively affect their health. At present, however, surgery is limited throughout Slovakia and therefore, of course, our patients are also affected.”

Some patients waiting since second wave

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