Christine Lee, NBC 5 Irving Reporter
Hospitals are packed with patients wanting elective surgeries before the end of the year, and before their insurance goes up in 2013.
Patients wanting elective surgeries before the end of the year are packing North Texas hospitals.
This is by far the busiest time of the year for surgeons at Baylor Irving. Since the beginning of November, many have been performing twice as many surgeries to meet end-of-the-year demands.
"Oftentimes, we have to adjust our schedule in order to accommodate patients doing surgery, so we may completely cancel some clinic hours in order to do that," orthopedic surgeon Dr. Steven Sanders said.
Sanders said hours can get long, especially when performing up to 20 surgeries per week. They can go up to 60 to 70 hours per week, up from the 50 to 60 hours per week during normal times of the year.
Rick Steen, who has had a growing problem with his knee, decided a couple of weeks ago to get a knee replacement.
"I had arthritis, and it was just getting to where I couldn't bend it, couldn't straighten it, [and was] limping all the time," he said.
Patients such as Steen are lining up in hopes of saving time and money.
"I did that because end of the year, I've met my deductible, and we have a week off at work so I can throw that in on the recovery time," Steen said. "My insurance is going up next year. I'm probably saving 20 percent by going ahead and doing it now."
Sanders said his surgery schedule is booked for the rest of the year. He recommends that people who need a spot look earlier next year.