Samaritan cancels some elective surgeries

WATERTOWN, NY —  For pre-cautionary reasons, Samaritan is following guidance and recommendations from the NYS Department of Health, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and American College of Surgeons to cancel some elective surgeries and procedures to help preserve supplies, protect patients and staff from exposure, and to maintain hospital bed capacity at our facility during this COVID-19 pandemic. Samaritan has worked with all its surgeons and has determined that all non-essential, non-life-threatening surgeries and procedures will be rescheduled for a later date and time.

Based on guidance from the American College of Surgeons, elective surgeries and procedures are broken into three tiers. All Tier 1 procedures will be cancelled – examples include annual colonoscopy screenings, carpal tunnel surgery, and dental. Tier 2 elective surgeries and procedures, such as non-urgent knee or hip replacements, will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and decided upon at the surgeons’ discretion. All Tier 3 elective surgeries and procedures will continue as planned. These include cases involving cancer, trauma, and other highly symptomatic patients. As with every surgical case and emergency, we will always do what is best for the patient.

Following these stated guidelines will help Samaritan surgeons meet the needs of the surgical patients and conserve critical equipment and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) until the COVID-19 pandemic stabilizes.

Please remember – due to strict visitor restrictions, if a patient does have a surgical procedure that requires an inpatient hospital stay, in many cases this patient will not be able to have any visitors while they recover in the hospital. We understand this is very difficult for families, however these regulations are in place by the NYS Department of Health and are for the safety of all patients and staff. If a patient is having an outpatient procedure and no hospital stay is required, their support person will be able to wait in their car until the patient is able to go home.

Our surgical services team will use their expertise to assist areas in need, such as the Samaritan COVID-19 Resource Line, 315-755-3100, and in our Community Coronavirus Testing Site.

If you have a question about your upcoming surgery or outpatient procedure, please call your surgeon’s office directly to find out more. We want to thank each and every one of our community members for your understanding and patience during this time. Your health is our number one priority.

For the most up to date and accurate information please visit the CDC’s website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html or NYSDOH’s website https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/