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As COVID-19 fills beds, Concord Hospital delays some elective surgeries

  • Hospital volunteer Harry Morehouse brings in a wheelchair into the main entrance of Concord Hospital on Thursday, June 3, 2021. The hospital has put in procedures and protocols learned from the pandemic to take into the future of their health care. GEOFF FORESTER

Monitor staff
Published: 10/29/2021 12:37:37 PM

In the latest sign of the cold-weather pandemic surge, Concord Hospital is postponing some elective surgeries “due to limited bed capacity related to the rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations” and an increase in Intensive Care Unit patients.

“This temporary move is an effort to ensure the ability to provide care for those arriving at our  Emergency Department with critical health issues and was made in accordance with surgery postponement guidelines set forth by the American College of Surgeons,” the hospital said in a statement Friday.

The move is an ominous repeat of 2020, when hospitals throughout the country stopped elective surgery and treatments to cope as COVID-19 surged. Most New Hampshire hospitals resumed elective work by May of this year, but in recent weeks hospitals in Lancaster and Colebrook have again curtailed elective surgeries because of a COVID surge in the North Country and other hospitals have said they may follow suit.

More than 200 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in New Hampshire as of Thursday, the highest number since last January.

As of Friday morning, half of the occupied beds in Concord Hospital ICU have COVID-19 patients, all of whom have not been vaccinated, according to hospital spokesman Matthew Johnson.

There are 26 active COVID patients in Concord Hospital and 10 at its Laconia hospital, seven of whom are in the ICU.

Concord Hospital’s decision to delay elective surgeries affects those classified as Tier 1a and 1b in a commonly used scale. Those are outpatient surgeries of non-life-threatening cases such as colonoscopies, carpal tunnel release surgery and esophageal endoscopies.

(David Brooks can be reached at (603) 369-3313 or dbrooks@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)
David Brooks bio photo

David Brooks is a reporter and the writer of the sci/tech column Granite Geek and blog granitegeek.org, as well as moderator of the monthly Science Cafe Concord events. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics he became a newspaperman, working in Virginia and Tennessee before spending 28 years at the Nashua Telegraph . He joined the Monitor in 2015.

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