Cone Hospital suspending non-emergency surgeries


GREENSBORO, N.C. — Cone Health is suspending non-emergency surgeries at three of its hospitals. The change goes into effect Jan. 25. 

This is another step in Cone Health’s plan to safely stretch resources and free up 150 to 160 hospital staff. 

The pandemic has left staffing tight and beds scarce, and the number of COVID-19 cases isn’t slowing down.  

Hernia repairs, orthopedic procedures and joint replacements will be put on pause as frontline workers at Cone Health juggle care for regular patients and those newly diagnosed with COVID-19.

Suspending non-essential procedures gives hospital staff some breathing room while opening up more beds and people to staff them, but Dr. James Wyatt, medical director at Moses Cone Hospital, says the hours will still be grueling—especially at Cone’s Green Valley campus.  

“They come in prepared at 7 o’clock in the morning, maybe even a little bit earlier, to deal with the sickest and isolated patients that you would ever imagine under some of the worst conditions,” Dr. Wyatt said. 

The pandemic has forced hospital leadership to get creative by hiring more travel nurses and even former physicians. 

“Try to reach out to some recently retired physicians who may want to come back and help or some that are in non-clinical roles that still have credentials to do so,” Dr. Wyatt explained.  

The staff at Moses Cone Hospital cares for 200-250 patients a day. About 10 to 20 of them are newly diagnosed COVID-19 patients. And as that number continues to climb, so could the number of suspended procedures.  

“We haven’t canceled complete outpatient surgeries, things that are still elective but can be done without filling out a hospital bed, and that might possibly be an area where we might want to slow down or stop,” Dr. Wyatt said.

Even with pressed resources, Dr. Wyatt tells FOX8 if you have a medical emergency, don’t be afraid to go the hospital.  

“You need to still come in and go to the emergency room. Don’t delay on conditions where you might be feeling worse and thinking ‘oh, well they said don’t come to the hospital it’s unsafe’ because it is safe to come into this environment. That’s why we’re keeping patients separated so that we can continue to take care of those that have urgent conditions that we need to take care of,” Dr. Wyatt concluded.  

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