Hospital resumes urgent procedures

LEBANON, NH – Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health (D-HH), New Hampshire’s largest provider of health care and the state’s only academic health system, is preparing to resume time-sensitive, urgent elective surgeries and procedures and ambulatory visits within the next 14 days. Working in consultation with the State of New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Hospital Association, D-HH has determined that current conditions indicate that a safe return to some clinical operations is appropriate.

In late March, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, D-HH was forced to announce the reduction of some non-urgent surgeries and procedures and some office and home visits, out of concern for critically short supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), other medical supplies, and medications, all of which have been in shortage across the globe. The reduction also came in the interest of slowing the spread of COVID-19, and in response to the urging of U.S. Surgeon General VADM Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH, that hospitals across the nation postpone elective surgeries, which are commonly thought of as those which may be time sensitive but not urgent or emergent.

Now, many of those patients whose procedures and appointments were postponed are being re-scheduled as D-HH begins the process of recovery even as the pandemic continues.

“Since the beginning of this pandemic, our primary focus has been the health and safety of our patients and our staff,” said D-HH Chief Clinical Officer Edward J. Merrens, MD, MS. “Over the past month, we put a number of important measures in place to assure and monitor our critical equipment, supplies and medications, as well as to maintain patient and staff safety. Those measures, along with the common sense guidelines of social distancing, washing hands, and staying home if sick, have paid off tremendously, and we’re confident that we’re ready to resume the appointments that we had temporarily postponed.”