Cook Children's Medical Center

Cook Children's Halts Elective Surgeries Due to Staff and Bed Shortages Amid Latest COVID-19 Surge

NBC 5 News

Cook Children's Medical Center is rescheduling all elective surgeries that require inpatient admission to Oct. 11 or later due to the latest surge of COVID-19, according to a statement released by the hospital.

"We're taking this extraordinary step to utilize Cook Children's perioperative RNs in other areas of the hospital, including ICUs. As reported in the media week after week, pediatric beds in our community are scarce and Cook Children's is no exception. For the past month, we have evaluated elective surgeries on a case-by-case basis and rescheduled as needed. As more and more inpatient beds are needed with no end in sight, the situation is dire, and this strategy will no longer suffice. There are only so many beds available and we must provide room for critically ill children who must be hospitalized," Cook Children's said in a statement.

"This is not a decision our administrative team takes lightly," said Stan Davis, Chief Operating Officer at Cook Children's Health Care System. "Elective surgeries are not synonymous with cosmetic or unnecessary procedures. These are children who require surgical intervention to improve their health and wellbeing. We are doing everything in our power to ensure every child who needs us is taken care of."

Cook Children's also stated they are having to divert patients away from Cook Children's when beds are not available.

According to Cook Children's, hospitals across the state are experiencing a similar situation.

Cook Children's said it is also taking patients from other regions whenever possible.

"It's unfortunate that we are physically unable to care for all of the children who need us right now. If we have to divert a patient away from Cook Children's, we ensure we find them an appropriate facility, though that may be several hours away from home or even in another state," said Cheryl Petersen, Chief Nursing Officer at Cook Children's.

The hospital is asking the public to get the COVID-19 vaccine for themselves and all eligible children.

According to the hospital, half of the COVID-19 patients they have treated since the vaccine was approved for children 12 and up have been unvaccinated teenagers.

The hospital offered other steps the public can take to help slow the spread of the virus:

  • Send your child to school in a mask. Ask them to keep it on at all times unless outside or eating.
  • All children in school over age 2 should be masking indoors. School districts should strive for universal masking right now.
  • Quarantine all children who come in contact with a COVID+ child if unmasked and for longer than 15 minutes indoors.
  • Please keep your sick children home from school.
  • Postpone indoor gatherings.
  • If you have to gather, go outside.
  • Limit the number of people who can attend sporting or theatrical events at schools so there can be spacing between families.
  • Stay at least six feet away from others outside of your immediate family.
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