King’s College Hospital in South London had to postpone the urgent cancer surgery operations scheduled on Jan. 4 and 5 because beds at intensive care units are at capacity with COVID-19 patients.
âDue to the large increase in patients being admitted with COVID-19, including those requiring intensive care, we have taken the difficult decision to postpone all elective procedures, with the exception of cases where a delay would cause immediate harm,” a spokesperson from one of the biggest hospitals of the National Health Services told British newspaper The Guardian.
“A small number of cancer patients due to be operated on this week have had their surgery postponed, with patients being kept under close review by senior doctors,” the spokesperson added.
The postponement of all “priority two” cancer surgery operations raised concerns among hospital staff because cancer in some of the affected patients may further spread or cause a patient to be inoperable.
“Itâs important to do these cancer cases within four weeks because theyâre urgent. If you put cancer surgery off for more than four weeks, that cancer can spread,” a hospital staff member told The Guardian.
The staff member also said that delaying the surgery can lead it to becoming “inappropriate because surgery can no longer get rid of the cancer, and thus the patientâs outcome may be worse.â
However, sources cited by The Guardian said that the postponed surgery were “unlikely” to be performed from Jan. 6 to 8.
Some patients may undergo chemotherapy as a temporary measure in an attempt to stop the tumor from growing before the rescheduled surgery.
Staff and patients were informed about the postponement over the weekend. Sources said that some of the patients and their family were “distraught” by the postponement.
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