IU Health to suspend half of elective surgeries, procedures in response to COVID-19 surge

Indiana University Health, the state’s largest hospital system, said it will temporarily suspend 50% of all inpatient elective surgeries and procedures throughout the system in response to surging COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.

The move will be effective Monday, IU Health said in a brief statement issued Thursday.

“The move is needed to alleviate some of the enormous pressure our care teams are under and to reserve inpatient space for those who need it most,” the statement said.

The decision is the latest indication that hospitals in Indiana are feeling besieged by the pandemic, even though some health officials had hoped the widespread availability of vaccines would slow the spread of the virus and the need for hospital care.

Last week, the Indiana Hospital Association said the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations is putting a strain on the health care system, and it pleaded with Hoosiers to get vaccinated. The state’s latest vaccination statistics show that 56% of Hoosiers ages 16 and over have been fully vaccinated.

IU Health did not say how many of its beds were being used for COVID-19 patients. It hasn’t updated its webpage on COVID-19 admissions and discharges since May.

But statewide hospitalizations due to COVID-19 rose from 2,048 on Tuesday to 2,108 on Wednesday, the largest number since Jan. 23, when 2,188 people were hospitalized with the virus, the Indiana Department of Health reported on Thursday. Almost a quarter (24.5%) of Indiana’s intensive care unit beds are occupied by COVID patients.

Last spring and early summer, hospitals throughout Indiana postponed elective surgeries and procedures for several months when the virus began building strength here and started to overwhelm the health care system.

Elective surgery refers to operations that are not of an urgent or emergency nature, and can usually be safely delayed.

IU Health said surgery patient are being notified now and will be rescheduled about three weeks out. The system operates 16 hospitals and dozens of clinics.

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24 thoughts on “IU Health to suspend half of elective surgeries, procedures in response to COVID-19 surge

  1. What will it take for people to understand the level of crisis occurring in our health care systems? Our staff are over-burdened, exhausted, and frankly decimated. Hospital personnel are reaching across multiple state lines, requesting systems in other states to take their sick because they have run out of room and resources. The delta variant is rising exponentially and crippling our hospitals. We are teetering on the edge of third-world medicine. The unvaccinated are squandering resources needed for numerous non-COVID illnesses. How have we devolved to such base mentality? Signed by a hospital worker who is too weary for much more of this but too young to retire.

  2. Those who already took the “vaccine” are now the superspreaders as they are shedding off the virus
    That’s why so many that are vaccinated are testing positive.
    Those injured or dead by the “vaccines” that aren’t really vaccines are growing into the thousands.
    For something that has a 97.9 % of survival the higher risk of the vaccine isn’t worth it.
    Its obvious COVID-19 is a bioweapon developed for other diabolical purposes as for the vaccine or nothing approach a government one can’t trust is pushing hard.
    How about the government focus more on treatments than vaccines as there is no vaccine that stops a virus.
    Just look at the flu. We get a new concoction every year that obviously isn’t doing the job either.
    Until the government stops making COVID-19 a cash cow for greedy hospitals administrators, the hospital staffs, docs, nurses, etc. that they really don’t care about are going to be worked into the ground for the big bucks. Especially as everything that walks through the door is COVID-19 as the cold, flu, sinusitis, and other common respiratory ailments no longer exist as they are COVID-19 now too.
    If the patient is insured, the hospitals etc. shouldn’t profit twice with a payment from the government too!!!

    1. IBJ, can you please remove comments like these that are 100% verifiably false. You’re allowing people to spread misinformation that actually causes people to die. Freedom of speech has its limits. If he dropped curse words, his comment would be removed. Isn’t spreading fake information that could result in death even worse?

    2. Wesley:

      The comment above by Darrell is not verifiably false. Some of the comment is opinion, some is factual information, some is debatable.

      There is plenty of fake information or unverifiable information for all sides of this topic, and the community should be free to discuss, debate…which a news organization like IBJ should support.

      There are other items in this article I’d like to hear IBJ’s research on such as:

      – what is driving such a nursing / HCP shortage? (IU Health has approx 100 vacancies)

      – why are so many nurses taking online classes to become nurse practitioners?

      – why are so many vaccinated people becoming sick with COVID a second or third time while many unvaccinated have not?

      – how much reimbursement has the hosptial system received from charting patients as “suspected COVID positive”?

      – error rates or false positive data from PCR tests?

      Etc.

      So much more to review, if there is bias removed.

      But that doesn’t fit the agenda does it?

    3. JCB, your standard of “is not verifiably false” is completely backwards. For journalism, and I would argue, for online comments that attempt to appear factual, the standard must be “IS verifiably TRUE.” Think about it. I could post that the former president was unwittingly groomed as a Russian plant to destroy America from within. Would that statement be “verifiably false”? I have no clear evidence proving it is true, but I bet you can’t come up with evidence that it is verifiably false, either.

      There is NO evidence that thousands of people are dying from taking the vaccine. NONE. That statement has NO BUSINESS being included on this online forum. The statement that there is no vaccine that stops a virus has no basis in fact, either. What do you think happened to polio, caused by a virus? It was virtually eliminated by a vaccine. So actually, that statement IS “verifiably false.” The statement that the vaccine has a higher risk than COVID actually IS verifiably false, too. Let’s just do the math here… Darrell says 97.9% of people survive COVID, which means 2.1% do not. (I have not verified Darrell’s stat, but we’ll use it here for the math demonstration). Darrell says the vaccine is riskier than that. We know that at least 189 million Americans have gotten the vaccine. If it killed at least 2.1% of them, that means about 4 million Americans would have died from the vaccine. That statement is clearly verifiably false, just completely ridiculous.

      I’m with Wesley, here… Darrell’s statements are absolutely outrageous, and it is obvious to most of us that disinformation is quite literally killing Americans by persuading them to avoid something that could save their life. I say the IBJ has a moral responsibility to remove such dangerously wrong statements of “fact.”

    4. “There is NO evidence that thousands of people are dying from taking the vaccine. NONE.”
      -Steve

      Unfortunately, that is a false statement. At best, you can state this is being investigated by health institutions and the CDC.

  3. Wesley, I just can’t imagine that one person will or will not get vaccinated based on Darell’s opinion. It’s a discussion board and all of them are full of ideas that do not agree with our own. Ever read any national news and the associated comments? Talk about crazy! It’s good to see what people are thinking even if it’s false by your own standards. I’m glad the IBJ has decided not to get into the “Facebook” type of censorship which has become far too heavy handed. I saw someone post a Covid joke the other day that was removed as not factual. It was an obvious joke, but that’s what you get when you feel like people need to be protected from information that you deem dangerous. Where does the censorship stop. I’ll grant you that the internet is full of lies and disinformation on this and practically everything else. It has become a cesspool and I think people need to be very careful where they get their news from and the IBJ is a good source to me. The comment section is not dangerous.

    1. I would like to think the IBJ is a good source, and for the journalism, it is. The comment section, however, is often the “cesspool” to which you refer, full of lies and disinformation. My comment below attempts to sort through just a couple of completely outrageous statements that Darrell presents here as if they are facts. I’m totally fine with back and forth discussion of opinion and do not believe IBJ should remove true opinions, but too many people are posting falsehoods and calling them facts. That, by definition, is not “opinion.” And in the case of the COVID vaccine, online falsehoods are resulting in real deaths.

    1. Yes, practically every industry is hurting for workers now. I’d love to read a good article on the subject of worker shortages. It obviously goes way beyond people choosing not to work because of unemployment checks. I can’t wrap my head around the idea that we were fine pre-pandemic and now we suddenly don’t have enough workers. Their has to be concrete reasons. For example I have wondered if baby boomers are retiring in droves now and their are not enough younger workers to replace them. I’m sure their are many reasons and I’d love to read a reputable story on the subject.

    2. Jeff A. You hit on one point of this topic. Yes, a lot of Boomers are retiring. This was happening pre-Covid. Face it, the past generations have not “produced” as many kids as our parents. So yes, there will be fewer people entering the work force.
      As for specific to hospitals, remember last March, when hospitals were afraid that they would be overrun with Covid patients? What did the government do? They ordered all elective surgeries stopped, so that those beds could hold Covid patients. First, it never got to that point. Second, there are surgery centers that do nothing but outpatient procedures and were not equipped with neither the equipment nor the knowledge to treat Covid patients. IU Health has several of these in Marion County. I know of nurses that were furloughed from these buildings. They were not reassigned to one of the Covid units that already existed. Some just left the hospital industry for other health care fields. I hope that IU Health’s 50% reduction only applies to elective surgeries in their full services hospitals and not these beltway surgery centers. Not all elective surgeries are cosmetic. Things that should never be put off like colonoscopies were postponed for months last year because of this government order.
      Also, just talk to just about anyone that works in the current corporate hospital systems. IU Health and Ascension come to mind. They will tell you since the individual hospitals like Methodist became part of a corporate system, employee morale has gone way down. They’ll tell you it’s no longer about patient treatment as it is about $$$.
      There are probably other answers to the shortage of medical workers, but my comments are from some that I know in the medical field.

    3. Great commentary Jeff and Bill.

      Bill – there is a lot more to this. You’ll note IU Health is doing very well financially, growing, etc. throughout this challenging time. Also, the reason specialty facilities (and I’d suspect many IU sites) will keep up their elective surgeries this time around. Competition between health institutions is rising as some have cut compensation for their HCPs as well throughout this last 18 mos.

  4. JCB, your standard of “is not verifiably false” is completely backwards. For journalism, and I would argue, for online comments that attempt to appear factual, the standard must be “IS verifiably TRUE.” Think about it. I could post that the former president was unwittingly groomed as a Russian plant to destroy America from within. Would that statement be “verifiably false”? I have no clear evidence proving it is true, but I bet you can’t come up with evidence that it is verifiably false, either.

    There is NO evidence that thousands of people are dying from taking the vaccine. NONE. That statement has NO BUSINESS being included on this online forum. The statement that there is no vaccine that stops a virus has no basis in fact, either. What do you think happened to polio, caused by a virus? It was virtually eliminated by a vaccine. So actually, that statement IS “verifiably false.” The statement that the vaccine has a higher risk than COVID actually IS verifiably false, too. Let’s just do the math here… Darrell says 97.9% of people survive COVID, which means 2.1% do not. (I have not verified Darrell’s stat, but we’ll use it here for the math demonstration). Darrell says the vaccine is riskier than that. We know that at least 189 million Americans have gotten the vaccine. If it killed at least 2.1% of them, that means about 4 million Americans would have died from the vaccine. That statement is clearly verifiably false, just completely ridiculous.

    I’m with Wesley, here… Darrell’s statements are absolutely outrageous, and it is obvious to most of us that disinformation is quite literally killing Americans by persuading them to avoid something that could save their life. I say the IBJ has a moral responsibility to remove such dangerously wrong statements of “fact.”

  5. Wes, the textbook Democrat: “please stop anyone who has an opinion different from mine from talking”. Are we also going to delete Susan’s comment about “teetering on the edge of 3rd world medicine”? It’s false, and hyperbole (Susan and Wes can’t fathom what 3rd world medicine really looks like), but I get it she is frustrated and expressing an opinion

    1. There is a difference between having an opposing opinion and spreading misinformation that could cause people to die.

    2. Yes, I’m sure they could put an asterisk by anyone posting any kind of numbers as not verified, but if your the IBJ why would you want to get into scrutinizing and verifying everything people write in the comment section? Do you really want them to play editor to people’s comments even if they cite numbers which may or may not be factual? I could say for example that only 25% of Indiana citizens have been vaccinated or 100 million people have died of Covid. Do you really need for them to censor those comments or do you just know that guy is wrong and full of it. I will wholeheartedly agree that social media (and that’s what this is) , is widely full of disinformation and I don’t have the answers for what to do about it, but requiring a small local business publication to censor comment boards is not the way to go.

    3. Dan, if someone is making medical decisions based on social media comments, that is on them. What if based on Susan’s post, I choose to ignore pain in my chest and left arm because I don’t want to experience 3rd world medicine? Is she “spreading misinformation and causing people to die”? Of course not. The point remains that people who vote like Wes want to censor any opinion that does not match their own.

  6. “Just Sayin'” Department: According to the CDC numbers I just looked up, there were 13,001,825 abortions performed in the United States from the years 1990-2000 inclusive. Those people would have been from 21 to 31 years of age this year. How many of those thirteen million might have entered the health care field to ameliorate the staffing problems discussed here?

    Go ahead, liberals, tell me I’m wrong….

    1. While we’re playing “Just Sayin'” Bob, What if we never advanced a vaccine for polio so now 5% of those 13 million babies now suffer and die anyway, even though they were born. OR, what if we didn’t advanced medicine at all? All these people in their 70s and 80s dying would have been dead anyway from disease and old age!
      OR, what if you didn’t bring in unrelated buzz topics to try and prove some weird, misguided point? Just sayin’…

  7. Unrelated buzz topic? Really, Joseph? You are saying NONE of the 13,000,000 aborted Americans from 1990-2001 would have entered the heath care field? Those are pretty long odds you’re playing there, but to be expected of a liberal stretching to defuse a legitimate observation, I would suppose.

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