Saying ‘Yes’ to an Elective Surgery During a Pandemic

In the midst of a pandemic, opting to have an elective surgery may not sound like an ideal decision, but the positives outweighed any potential negatives for Tony Bogard.

Putting Fears Aside

“I had six surgeries at various hospitals, and all were failures – some not so bad, some pretty intense, but it didn’t solve the problem,” said Bogard.

After hearing positive stories and reading lengthy reviews, Bogard – who lives in Dayton, Ohio, decided to talk with Dr. Steven Immerman, an experienced surgeon from Evergreen Surgical who practices at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital.

“I was told he has patients from all over the world who’ve had successful surgeries with him, so I thought, ‘why not?’”

A Change in Process

The cleft lift procedure is intended to cure Pilonidal Disease. It involves removing infected skin around the anus, which helps ease pain in a patient’s tailbone.

The screening process for Bogard was different than previous experiences, given the prevalence of COVID-19. He was tested in Eau Claire for the virus and quarantined himself in a hotel until the negative results came back. Then it was a matter of following COVID-19 hospital guidelines – a shift in process for patients and colleagues.

“Patients and visitors from the moment they come in, there’s a screening process, they get asked if they have any symptoms, they do a temperature check and they’re escorted to the unit,” said Stacey Powell, director of surgical services at HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals.

Tony says the idea of traveling to Wisconsin for surgery during COVID-19 was a bit nerve-wracking.

“I’m a person that overthinks a lot of things, so I was more overthinking the negatives and not the positives,” he said. “In the whole situation though there were too many positives that outweighed my initial negative thoughts.”

The Hospital is a Safe Place

Powell says elective surgery is a personal decision, and to check with your provider on whether to wait. But she said safety in the hospitals during COVID-19 shouldn’t be a concern.

“We are doing everything we can to make sure our patients are safe,” she said. “And I believe our hospitals are safer right now that anywhere else in the community.”

Tony’s prognosis is positive, which he says is one good thing in this whole pandemic situation.

“As of right now everything is looking good and I’m healing well,” he said. “It looks like the seventh time was the charm and Dr. Immerman was the good luck behind it.”

You may also be interested in “One Family’s Hospital Connections”