When a patient needs surgery, but the surgeon can't operate, doctors at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth step in. A special clinic is working with patients to get them ready for the big day.
Diane St. Pierre said their mission at the JPS Optimization Clinic is to get patients to the operating room and on their way to recovery as scheduled.
“The purpose of the clinic is to minimize same-day cancellations,” said St. Pierre, an advanced practice registered nurse. “We can see you weekly if I need to. I can see you twice a week to get your diabetes under control.”
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The Surgical Optimization Clinic was established in 2016. St. Pierre said they realized they had a problem.
“The hospital lost $1.75 million that year before,” she said.
Surgeries were scheduled and patients were told they needed to be in the best shape possible prior to operation. The problem was they were left on their own to make improvements.
“You’re told, ‘I need you to go lose weight, but nobody explains how,'" St. Pierre said.
Cheryl Beck is a cancer survivor who is prepping to have a hernia removed. She was told to drop pounds before surgery, but it was a requirement she admitted she couldn’t do on her own.
“Oh, I wouldn’t be able to do it. I’d be cheating all the time” Beck said.
According to JPS, roughly 60% of their patients in need of surgery are not in optimal condition to have the procedure done.
“So, patients were being cancelled the day of surgery for elevated glucose, hypertension that was not well controlled, or their weight was too much for the surgery that they were going to have to have,” St. Pierre said.
The clinic stepped in to change that. It started with just 11 patients in the first month of operation in 2016, but see more than 300 today.
“We tell the patients, it’s our job to get you to surgery as quickly and as safely as possible,” St. Pierre said.
She said it is life changing for them, and for her.
“It’s like you’re doing mission work every day," she said.
Same-day surgery cancellations at JPS are down by some 30% since the optimization clinic was established.