‘Unprecedented surge’ in RSV patients causes more surgery delays at Children’s Hospital

‘Unprecedented surge’ in RSV patients causes more surgery delays at Children’s Hospital

Primary Children’s Hospital announced Monday that about 50 elective, pre-scheduled surgeries will be postponed so the hospital can better treat a large influx of patients with RSV and other respiratory illnesses. (Intermountain Healthcare)

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SALT LAKE CITY – Primary Children’s Hospital announced Monday that about 50 elective, pre-scheduled surgeries that require patients to stay overnight will be postponed so the hospital can treat a large influx of children sick with RSV and other respiratory illnesses.

In a statement, the hospital said that in order to “provide excellent care and ensure that staff and resources can best meet the needs of patients during this busy time, the hospital is postponing as many of this week’s pre-scheduled procedures and non-urgent surgeries as possible that would require a hospital stay as long as possible.” possible.”

Those 50 operations make up about 10% of all operations planned this week at the Children’s Elementary School. It is for the second time this month, the hospital managers made a decision to postpone elective surgeries due to the large number of people suffering from respiratory diseases.

“We do not take this action lightly,” said Dr. Andrew Pavia, a pediatric infectious disease physician at the hospital, during a press conference Monday afternoon.

Although the hospital has implemented many preventive measures to cope with the expected cold season wave, this year there has been an “unprecedented increase” of RSV accompanied by a large number of cases of influenza and COVID-19, he said.

The hospital is currently operating at full capacity for the expansion, which means they have converted some clinical areas into inpatient rooms and accommodated two patients in rooms that normally accommodate only one. Despite these efforts, Pavia said the hospital is pushed to the limits and that they are doing their best every day to help the children get well enough to be sent home and make room for other sick children.

“Our patient volume exceeds typical winter surge levels, and the hospital has been at or near capacity for several consecutive weeks,” said Dustin Lipson, director of Primary Children’s Hospital. “This is combined with a large number of patients coming to the emergency department for a variety of other illnesses and injuries.”

The ER has set records for the number of children seen in a single day on two of the past four days, Pavia said, which has kept her “extremely busy.” The emergency room team stepped up to accommodate patient requests, but available patient space was limited, leading to the decision to postpone those elective, pre-scheduled surgeries, Pavia said.


We actually understood this action as a way to provide the best and safest care to children in need.

– Dr. Andrew Pavia, pediatric infectious disease specialist


“We really took this action as a way to provide the best and safest care for children who need it,” Pavia said. “Unfortunately, this is causing inconvenience to some families who have had scheduled operations cancelled.”

Pavia said the best thing to help the hospital at this time is to avoid the emergency room and keep children healthy and away from sick people. Mild symptoms in adults can easily be passed on to children, who will then show more serious symptoms that potentially require hospital visits, he said.

“If not for yourself, do it for our community,” Pavia said of flu and COVID-19 vaccinations. Getting the flu vaccine, the COVID-19 vaccine, wearing a mask when symptoms appear, and more can prevent the disease.

With RSV and the flu not yet peaking, Pavia said the hospital is in for a tough few weeks. Primary Children’s will reassess daily whether additional elective surgeries need to be postponed.

Elective surgeries that do not require an overnight stay are still being held as normal, but could also be delayed if things get worse, Pavia said.

“I know how hard this is going to be for some of our families. We wouldn’t do it if we had another choice,” Pavia said. “We will not delay any operation that would put any child at risk. But we know it will cause inconvenience and possibly expense.”

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Cassidy Wixom covers Utah County communities and is the evening’s top news reporter for KSL.com.

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