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Hospitals encourage patients to reschedule elective surgeries

If patients don't feel quite safe going in yet, health experts say they should talk to their surgeon or doctor.

TAMPA, Fla. — This week, Governor Ron DeSantis said resuming elective surgeries is an important part of the reopening process. 

"The biggest change with phase 1, was to bring back online the 'elective' medical procedures.  A lot of times people hear the elective and they think these are cosmetic procedures but no, these are necessary. It may be elective as to when you schedule it, but you need to do it."

One of the biggest concerns for patients is staying safe. For weeks people were told to avoid hospitals and doctors offices unless they had an emergency. 

Now, they want people to come back.  

Tampa General hospital is trying to get back to business as usual. Back in March, it had about 1,200 elective surgeries scheduled that had to be cancelled.  

Starting last week, they began the long process of trying to get those patients back on the operating table for what could be a much needed procedure.

"Sinus surgery, joint surgery, hernias, lower risk cancer surgery,"  Dr. Tapan Padhya is chief of staff at Tampa General Hospital. He named off just a few types of surgeries that patients had postponed. 

Since last week, they've faced the daunting task of calling all those people to reschedule.  

"We did prioritize the patients that needed to have their elective surgeries the soonest and then worked from there. It's going to take us a four to eight-week recovery to get all these patients back on the schedule."

Dr. Pahdya also wanted to reassure patients that they are taking every precaution to keep everyone safe.  

"Every patient that's admitted, every patient that's in house, is tested. Now, with all this elective schedule starting, we're able to test every one of the patients through our fast track urgent care network prior to surgery."

Dr. Padhya also says he understands why people are nervous about being in the hospital. He says if anyone has any concerns they should talk to their doctor or surgeon to see if they can or should wait a little longer before rescheduling a procedure. 

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RELATED: How hospitals plan to resume elective surgeries amid coronavirus pandemic

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