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Surgical Team at CHKD Wearing Funny Face Masks

Elective Surgery Returns to CHKD

Author: Robert Kelly, MD
Published Date: Friday, May 8, 2020

As the only pediatric surgery center in the region, CHKD is pleased to return to a full array of surgical procedures in response to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s May 1 order allowing non-emergency surgery to resume.

We have continued to perform urgent surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic, and will now be reaching out to patients to reschedule elective procedures that were postponed due to the statewide concern that hospitals might be overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.

Fortunately, children have not been as severely affected by COVID-19 as adults. Only 1.7 percent of reported COVID-19 cases have been in children, even though they make up 22 percent of the population. Still, CHKD has put an extensive array of safety measures in place to make surgical procedures and clinical visits to our facilities safe for children and their families. These safety measures will stay in place for the foreseeable future and include the following:

  • We’re screening all patients, visitors and staff members for fever and other COVID-19 symptoms before they enter a CHKD facility.
  • All CHKD staff members must wear a mask.
  • We are limiting the number of visitors to the hospital, our health centers, and our physician practices.
  • We are social distancing in our lobbies, lines, and waiting rooms.

In addition, we are testing all surgical patients for COVID-19 prior to surgery. If a test result is positive, we will postpone that child’s surgery unless that would endanger the child. Your child’s surgeon will order the test. It can be performed at CHKD’s main hospital lab In Norfolk, or the CHKD Urgent Care centers at Volvo Parkway, Tech Center or Loehmann’s Plaza. Please note: CHKD Urgent Care centers are also offering COVID-19 tests to their patients who meet testing criteria, but they are not a walk-in testing site for the public or a referral lab.

Surgical procedures at CHKD during the governor’s elective surgery ban fell by more than 60 percent, so we will be extending our usual hours to catch up on needed surgery to accommodate children in need of treatment vital to their health and well-being.

We know families have been diligent about sheltering-in-place, but we urge you not to put off needed treatment of children unnecessarily. Delays can lead to more severe health problems, not just physically but mentally. Children with chronic health conditions also need to continue treatments to maintain the best health possible.

At our main hospital in Norfolk, we provide inpatient and outpatient surgery from the most complex operations to very minor outpatient procedures. We also offer outpatient procedures for patients by surgical specialists at our Health and Surgery Center at Oyster Point in Newport News and our Health and Surgery Center at Concert Drive in Virginia Beach.

In addition to six surgical specialties -- cardiac surgery, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, pediatric surgery, plastic surgery and urological surgery -- pediatric ear, nose and throat surgeons and eye surgeons, dentists, and dental surgeons also operate at CHKD. Every patient benefits from the extensive training and expertise of the region’s only pediatric anesthesiologists, and a full team of pediatric nurses, child life specialists, and others who create a unique surgical experience designed just for young people.

The pediatric surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses who provide care through CHKD's Surgical Program are committed to quality care and excellence in a child-centered environment and are proud to hold a Level 1 Children’s Surgery Center designation from the American College of Surgeons.

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About Robert Kelly, MD

About Robert  Kelly, MD A surgeon, educator and researcher, Dr. Kelly has served as chief of the department of surgery at CHKD for the past 16 years. He is also chief of the division of pediatric surgery at EVMS, as well as professor of clinical surgery and pediatrics. He has been at CHKD for over 20 years. Read his full bio here.