Woman learns Rochester Regional is pausing elective surgeries as she shows up for hers

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — New measures to confront coronavirus, and the staffing crunch at local hospitals are already causing painful delays for some patients.

Friday, Rochester Regional Health announced that it’s putting off some surgeries because of concerns it may run out of room in a COVID-19 surge.

That means a long wait for some treatments, is getting longer.

"The pain, does kind of radiate down your leg because it’s just pulling and tearing the muscles,” sighed Lynda Morris of Brockport as she looked over her right knee.

She says after years of pain, she has been ready for months to get that knee replaced, but the staffing crunch at Rochester General Hospital has put her plans on hold, now twice, most recently on Friday.

“The pain is so bad, and just even sleeping,” she said. “It doesn’t even matter what I’m doing. It just hurts all the time and it’s really impacting just my everyday life.”

Under Gov. Kathy Hochul’s disaster emergency declared last Friday, hospitals can put off elective surgeries if they have less than 10% of their bed capacity available, to make sure they can handle any need for critical services.

On Thursday URMC announced it would be pausing elective surgeries that require a hospital stay.

Then on Friday came Rochester Regional, which said in a statement "RRH has already taken the active step of limiting inpatient elective surgeries at Rochester General, Unity, and Newark-Wayne Community hospitals beginning next week. We are actively communicating with our patients as the situation continues to evolve."

Lynda Morris says she got her communication “at” Rochester General on Friday afternoon minutes before what was supposed to be a pre-op appointment for her knee surgery next Friday.

"I was pulling into the parking garage there at RGH for my appointment,” she recalled, "and the people from the pre-op department called me and said ‘We just want to make sure you don’t come in for your appointment, because your surgery has been canceled.’"

With the omicron coronavirus variant now in New York, Hochul said there’s a lot of concern about a possible wintertime COVID surge.

The new rules for hospitals are in effect as of now and Hochul said the state will look at them again and reconsider any changes in mid-January, not much comfort for Lynda Morris.

“You know, I did my part. I am fully vaccinated. I got the booster. Got a flu shot,” she said. “And now I am, you know, limping around just waiting to get this done, to feel better.“