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Sarasota Thursday, May 7, 2020 1 year ago

Sarasota Memorial Hospital resumes elective surgeries

Although precautionary measures remain in place to limit coronavirus spread, SMH wants the public to know it’s safe to come to the hospital.
by: David Conway Deputy Managing Editor

Phase one of reopening in Florida allowed hospitals, including Sarasota Memorial Hospital, to resume nonemergency surgeries beginning Monday.

That was welcome news for hospital officials who feared the coronavirus was taking a toll on medical systems even as Sarasota avoided a resource-straining surge of cases. In late April, before the governor announced elective surgeries could soon begin again, the hospital put out a message encouraging the public not to ignore urgent medical problems because they feared COVID-19.

“If you’re having heart issues, come to the hospital,” SMH President and CEO David Verinder said in a video.

“If you’re having a stroke, come to the hospital. If you have issues, contact your physician, come to the ER, and get those things taken care of. We’re very concerned that people are putting off procedures that are going to cause them problems down the road.”

Now as the hospital begins conducting elective surgeries, it’s once again attempting to assure patients the facility is safe. Surgeries didn’t stop altogether at SMH during the statewide shutdown: The hospital has conducted nearly 3,000 surgeries since March, according to a release.

The hospital is expanding its capacity to test high-risk patients for the coronavirus ahead of surgeries, and other safety protocols remain.

“I really feel that walking the corridors of the hospital right now is one of the safest places you could probably be,” Verinder said.

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