Female surgeon ties masks in operating room

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Surgeries Resume: What You Need to Know

Norman Regional Health System is preparing for the return of elective surgeries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Kevin Stitt announced that elective surgeries would be allowed to resume April 24.

The focus of that preparation is how to keep patients and employees safe. To do so, Norman Regional is continuing to screen all employees and visitors at its entries and continuing to restrict visitors for adult patients. Click here to read more about Norman Regional’s current visitation policy.

Norman Regional is also controlling access to its facilities and social distancing to maintain a safe environment. Some of the safety measures are:

  • COVID-19 testing for surgery patients 48-72 hours prior to surgery.

  • Approved surgical patients will be required to self-quarantine immediately following the test and until their procedure.

  • For patients who are traveling far distances, the Doris Luttrell Hospitality House may be utilized for patients prior to their surgery. We have also connected patients with local hotels offering discounts. Patients can work with their physician clinic team if these services are needed.

  • In order to assure patient safety, the health system has a phased approach to resume elective surgeries. Initially surgeries will only be performed on an outpatient basis. For any surgical patients who need overnight recovery care, patients will be in a designated area within the hospital away from COVID-19 units.

Safety measures to protect our patients and staff will remain in place. These safety measures include:

  • Temperature screenings at hospital and clinic locations

  • Restrictions of visitors

  • Wearing of face masks during patient encounters and in public or common areas

  • Easily accessible hand sanitizer throughout the facilities

  • Social distancing signage reminders and visual cues

As we begin to treat surgery patients who have had their procedures postponed, Norman Regional will continue to follow proper safety measures in the operating room, which include frequent handwashing and wearing personal protective equipment. The operating rooms have always been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to specifically control the spread of infection through the use of hospital-grade disinfectants, followed by the use of germ-zapping robots that destroys viruses, bacteria and bacteria spores.

Norman Regional physicians, based on their medical judgement, input from their patients and guidelines from the American College of Surgeons and the Oklahoma State Department of Health, will prioritize the scheduling of patients who need surgery.

“Our plan provides guidelines that prioritize patients based on medical necessity and complexity of the procedures being performed,” said Richie Splitt, president and CEO of Norman Regional Health System. “It includes pre-surgery COVID-19 testing for patients followed by self-quarantine until the day of the procedure. We continue restricting visitation, wearing masks and other protective gear, and we will direct post-surgical patients to specific recovery areas within our hospitals. We continue taking every precaution necessary to protect our patients and healers.”

Norman Regional is methodically and gradually resuming elective surgeries.

“We are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of our patients and our staff,” said John Chace, MD, department chair of Norman Regional’s Surgical Services. “We are visiting with our patients before scheduling them because it is important they feel confident in the safety measures we’re taking to protect them. We’re ready to provide safe surgical treatment to those in our community who have been waiting for the care they need to improve their quality of life.”

Remember, emergencies don’t stop during pandemics. If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency such as a heart attack or stroke, call 911 immediately, even if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Norman Regional and EMSSTAT are here for you 24/7 and have proper precautions in place to care for you while keeping themselves and others safe.

Help us stop the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Stand about six feet from other people.

  • Stay at home as much as possible.

  • Wear a mask when in public.

COVID-19 Hotline:

Are you showing symptoms of COVID-19? Symptoms include:

  • Fever

  • Cough

  • Difficulty breathing

  • The loss of smell, taste or appetite may be symptoms

Please speak with your primary care provider or call the Norman Regional COVID-19 hotline at 405-515-4328.

Click here to read more about Norman Regional’s response to COVID-19 and subscribe to our eNewsletter to stay informed.