By Carey Codd

BROWARD (CBSMiami) – Broward Health Medical Center is preparing for a return of elective surgeries.

The hospital’s chief medical officer, Dr. Joshua Lenchus, said its doctors are contacting patients who may have put off important procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic, fearful of going to the hospital because they might get sick or that they would use up valuable resources.

Lenchus told CBS4 News that he hopes those patients return and that elective surgeries will soon be allowed again in Florida.

“Patients should not be fearful of coming to the hospital for these kinds of procedures that have been postponed and are necessary,” Lenchus said.

He added that tops on the priority list once Gov. Ron DeSantis allows elective surgeries again will be diagnostic procedures to screen for cancers.

“If those procedures were postponed, those procedures would be done,” he said.

Lenchus also said some procedures to fix fractures or relieve chronic pain would be high on the list of elective surgeries.

“Fractures, in the orthopedic world, that may have gone for a few days or a week without being fixed and need to be fixed, will be done,” he said.

The hospital is taking precautions. Lenchus said patients coming to Broward Health for elective surgeries will be separated from patients with COVID-19 or who have been exposed to COVID-19.

He said appropriate screening measures will be performed when someone enters the hospital. He also said they have the bed space for new patients.

“Yes, we do have the capacity to take care of patients appropriately at this time,” Lenchus said.

The Florida Medical Association wants elective surgeries to restart. They sent a letter to DeSantis last week, saying “it is imperative that we not ignore a potential second crisis: a wave of emergencies and fatalities among the people delaying care or going untreated.”

DeSantis halted elective surgeries in March, writing in an executive order that “appropriate measures must be taken to conserve all medical supplies, including personal protective equipment.” The order is set to expire May 8.

Ambulatory surgical centers are also looking to restart elective procedures. Dr. Joshua Lampert is a board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon and operates Miami Surgery LLC in Aventura. One of his concerns is a backlog of preventative procedures once restrictions are loosened.

“Backed up colonoscopies, backed up mastectomies, backed up preventative care things that need to be done,” Lampert said.

He says some procedures can wait but waiting can be harmful.

“If you wait too long, some of those things are gonna become bigger problems. So, how long do we wait?” he said. “If people need to be treated, they need to be treated.”

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