Featured Editorial: How to risk-stratify elective surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The recent edict by the United States Surgeon General to "consider stopping elective surgeries" as part of the COVID-19 pandemic preparedness led to a significant push back by the American Hospital Association (AHA) and other stakeholders. The major concerns are related to the notion that patients' health may rapidly deteriorate if deprived of access to timely surgical care, since many "elective" procedures are indeed essential and not optional. In this featured article, Patient Safety in Surgery journal editor Philip F Stahel proposes a pragmatic decision-making algorithm that is based on risk-stratification of surgical indications and stewardship for critical resources. A balanced approach is needed to accommodate the requirements for COVID-19 surge preparedness while assuring our patients continued access to appropriate surgical care.