Peninsula Regional Health System, including Peninsula Regional Medical Center and Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, will begin canceling elective, non-emergency surgeries on Monday, March 23, as a part of the overall strategy to conserve and direct resources to the highest areas of need as we prepare for a possible COVID-19 outbreak in our community. Not every surgery will stop on Monday; rather, it means that all surgeries will be evaluated and those that can be canceled will be. Patients will be notified ahead of time.

The medical staff has agreed on a set of criteria to determine which surgeries will be canceled, and when.  The criteria we are using mirror those established by other hospital systems with guidance from the American College of Surgeons.

“Delaying elective surgeries – those that are not urgent – is a tactic that most hospitals around the country have or will use to achieve two goals during this crisis,” said Mark Edney, MD, President of the Medical Staff at PRMC. “First, delaying surgeries that are not urgent or emergent saves supplies, personnel and other resources that are needed to be used for those sickened by the virus.  Second, it reduces unnecessary exposure of community members to the hospital environment when they don’t absolutely need to be here.

“We are sensitive to the need to balance the community need for these important but non-emergent surgeries with the need to conserve resources and minimize unnecessary exposure to the hospital environment. When implemented on Monday, it will be for a two-week timeframe and then re-evaluated on a rolling basis (with potential to extend the timeframe) so that we can deactivate the policy as soon as it is safe based on real-time data on viral spread and the hospital’s ongoing experience in treating affected community members.”

Patients with questions should call their surgeon’s office to verify whether their surgery is still going forward.