Strain on St. Louis area hospitals forces postponement of elective procedures


ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force says the increase in COVID-19 patients is forcing hospitals to postpone elective procedures. 

Local health officials are reissuing their strong plea for everyone to get vaccinated. The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force says some hospitals in the region are now cancelling elective procedures because beds are filling with COIVD patients.

Dr. Clay Dunagan, BJC Healthcare chief clinical officer and task force member, says some hospitals are putting some limits on life support equipment, specifically heart-lung bypass machines. The usage is maxed out and not always available to patients who may be transferred to St. Louis from another city. 

“First of all, we are beginning to have to postpone some procedures that we would normally need to do but which will require a hospital bed,” Dunagan said.

“We simply don’t have enough people and staff to take care of all the COVID cases we’re seeing. All the emerging care we have to render and the elected procedure, which although they can be postponed, are important for many individuals.”

Dunagan says more children are being brought into the ICUs of local hospitals.

He says he knows some parents don’t like to have their children wear masks, but he said he fears if more children aren’t wearing masks in schools, more in-class learning will be stopped, and there may be a return to virtual learning for many schools.   

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