Hospitals

‘A Big Letdown': Patient With Postponed Surgery Must Wait Out COVID Surge

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Hospitals across the state are postponing thousands of surgeries while they grapple with the COVID staffing crisis.

Hospitals across the state are postponing thousands of surgeries as the pandemic stretches their resources. Sharon Desbecker was supposed to go in last week.

 "I was supposed to have a surgery for my spinal stenosis. It's called a laminectomy and spinal fusion. Sounds awful, doesn't it?"

She needs it to relieve chronic pain in her back. And she's certainly not alone. She was supposed to go to Mass General Brigham, but the hospital is postponing surgeries, like others in the state.

"Due to the capacity and staffing crisis, Mass General Brigham is now reducing the number of surgeries and procedures across the healthcare system by more than 2,000 cases per week or 40% of the system's total procedures," The hospital said in a statement.

"We know this is extremely difficult for patients and our teams of providers are working each day to prioritize those procedures of a more urgent need," the statement continued.

Due to the capacity and staffing crisis, Mass General Brigham is now reducing the number of surgeries and procedures across the healthcare system by more than 2,000 cases per week -- or 40% of the system's total procedures. This comes as local experts say COVID cases have not peaked here in Massachusetts.

Desbecker learned her January was put off right before Christmas.

"It was a big letdown for me because I was mentally prepared to do it."

Not to mention she is in pain.

 "It's not fun. I can live with it temporarily. I can't live with it forever because it will get worse."

Right now, she has no idea when she will get in.

"I'm hoping for March. That's just me. But I don't know that and they can't give me a date yet."