Milwaukee area hospitals begin resuming elective surgeries and non-emergency procedures

NOW: Milwaukee area hospitals begin resuming elective surgeries and non-emergency procedures

MILWAUKEE COUNTY (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee area hospitals are beginning to turn the dial and slowly see patients needing non-emergency medical care unrelated to COVID-19. 

Area doctors say the health care facilities are probably one of the safest places you can go. Doctors say people should be prepared to wear a cloth mask, wash your hands and do a screening process prior to receiving treatment.

“The message in early March was ‘please don’t come here unless you absolutely have to,’ which was the right thing to do,” said Dr. David Margolis, Interim Pediatrician in Chief at Children’s Wisconsin.

Now with better safety guidelines, some hospitals in the area like Froedtert and Children's Wisconsin feel they’re ready to begin seeing non-emergency patients and do more elective surgeries.

“With better testing, better protective equipment, better distancing, it’s safe to start doing more health care,” adds Dr. Margolis.

Procedures like endoscopies, eye surgeries and orthopedic surgeries were put on hold for nearly two months.

“All the eye surgeries, hearing surgeries, the tubes, tonsils those are the types of things we’re looking at now,” says Dr. Margolis.

Dr. O’rell Williams at Ascension St. Joseph says it’s important people who need emergency medical care seek it.

Doctors have discussed a possible surge because people aren’t seeking help.

“We may start to see a rash of increased mortality and morbidity based on the fact that people did not come in to the hospital when things were starting to go wrong,” said Dr. Williams.

For Dr. Williams it’s personal, his uncle waited three weeks to seek help after having chest pains in fear of getting COVID-19.

“You know, thank God everything turned out okay for him but he’s 81-years-old,” says Dr. Williams. “I understand the concern, and this is a legitimate concern in the community.”

Dr. Margolis says while more services are now offered, they have to be careful to not hit the play button too quickly, but ensures proper safety guidelines are in place to protect all patients.

“We’re going to play it very intentionally you know, with hitting that un-pause button, but it’s time for kids to be treated,” he says.

“All Ascension facilities and all other facilities as well, they’ve made plans to make sure that all patients are segregated so there’s very little chance of somebody getting an infection at a hospital,” adds Dr. Williams.

While hospitals are slowly beginning to open their doors back up for non-emergency cases, doctors say its important people continue to minimize spread by social distancing, washing hands constantly and avoid touching your face.

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