Sarasota Memorial Hospital resuming elective and non-emergency surgeries

Protocols in place to ensure safety of patients and staff

The Sarasota Memorial complex is on U.S. 41 in Sarasota. Photo courtesy Sarasota Memorial Health Care

Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) resumed elective surgeries and non-emergency procedures as of May 4, following Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Executive Order last week, which lifted restrictions on surgery, the hospital announced.

All of SMH’s operating rooms, robotic surgery suites, cardiac catheterization and electrophysiology labs, endoscopy/brochoscopy procedural suites and its Cape Outpatient Surgery Center were to resume normal operations on May 4, a news release said.

“Since March, the hospital has safely performed nearly 3,000 surgeries, including more than 100 open-heart surgeries and TAVR [heart valve] procedures,” the release noted. SMH has been scheduling “a full range of non-emergency and elective procedures that have been delayed, from joint replacement and minimally invasive spine surgery to robotic hysterectomies, laparascopic hernia repairs and more, the release pointed out.

A detailed pre-operative evaluation was developed and other protocols were put in place “to ensure the safety of patients, staff and medical providers,” the release explained. The hospital already had been testing high-risk and other patients for COVID-19 up to 72 hours before non-elective surgeries; it expanded pre-admission testing last week so it could safely resume elective procedures, the release added.

“SMH also has the capability of performing rapid on-site COVID-19 testing so it can obtain results in less than an hour in high risk or time-sensitive situations,” the release pointed out.

“Our top priority has and always will be the safety of our patients, employees, medical staff and others visiting or working in our facilities,” said SMH CEO David Verinder in the release. “I am confident that we have the expertise and infection prevention precautions in place to safely resume operations for all of our patients and team caring for them,” he added in the release.

“Patients who had a procedure postponed or who have other questions should contact their physician for information,” the release said.

“In addition to resuming elective procedures, the hospital encourages people to follow up on important diagnostic and imaging screenings for cancer, heart conditions and other chronic disease,” the release noted.

“Visiting restrictions remain unchanged at this time,” the release emphasized. “Patients in surgical, procedural and testing areas may each have one support person (access is limited to the first floor). SMH has been consistently screening everyone who enters its facilities, including patients and staff, for fever and respiratory symptoms,” the release pointed out. “In addition, it requires everyone to don a hospital-provided mask when entering the hospital.”