Tuesday 17 May 2022 10:55 PM 100,000 unnecessary surgeries were performed by hospitals during the first year ... trends now
More than 100,000 'unnecessary' operations were carried out by America's hospitals during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, a report finds.
In its first report on the issue the Lown Institute, a healthcare think-tank in Boston, Massachusetts, said health centers barely shelved any of these unneeded operations despite the outbreak.
A surgery was marked as not needed if there was evidence it offered no greater benefit than an alternative, like prescription drugs. Heart stents, hysterectomies and procedures for back pain were included on the list.
Almost half of the unnecessary surgeries were stents for stable coronary heart disease, with the most being carried out by the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in California.
In the first three months after Covid hit the U.S., hospitals struggled to get patients through their doors, with many staying away for fear of catching the virus.
But by the winter wards were overflowing with patients during a major surge that proved to be the deadliest of the pandemic.
Dr Vikas Saini, the institute's president, said: 'You couldn't go into your local coffee shop, but hospitals brought people in for all kinds of unnecessary procedures.
'The fact that a pandemic barely slowed things down shows just how deeply entrenched overuse is in American healthcare.'
The Lown Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, said that health centers barely slowed down completing 'unnecessary' surgeries despite the outbreak. A surgery was marked as not needed if there was evidence it offered no greater benefit to an alternative, like drugs (stock)
The Lown Institute looked through claims data from Medicare — federal health insurance for people aged 65 years and over — for 2020.
It searched for eight procedures that the Institute considered to be unnecessary.
These included stents alongside vertebroplasty for osteoporosis — where a cement mixture is injected into a vertebrae, and hysterectomies — where the uterus is removed — for benign cancer patients.