Governor’s decree delays Cheney woman’s gallbladder removal surgery

SPOKANE, Wash. — Many are left in pain after Governor Jay Inslee announced a pause for all non-essential surgeries.

The decree, issued Thursday, states all operations that will not cause harm to a patient within 90 days be delayed. Many are infuriated with these delays, and for some, it causes physical pain.

Margaret Gragert has been living with gallstones for a little over two months. She met with a surgeon at Sacred Heart Medical Center on Tuesday and scheduled to get her gallbladder removed this week.

“I started having severe right pain in my stomach and they did some testing .. and found out I had some gallstones,” said Gragert.

Now, Gragert’s surgery, along with many more, are postponed until further notice. Gragert, a hard-working mother, says the delay is putting a strain on her everyday life. Sometimes she has so much pain it’s difficult for her to pick up her kids.

“It hurts but I can’t stop living because I have kids,” said Gragert.

Until the governor says otherwise, Gragert must wait until hospitals start accepting elective surgeries again. Providence Medical Group says they are reviewing the decree and adjusting accordingly.

Providence released the following statement:

“As Governor Inslee noted in his press conference, all hospitals across the state are under extreme stress due to the current COVID surge. Prior to the governor’s announcement, Providence had been curtailing non-urgent procedures due to staffing and other constraints. We are in the process of reviewing the governor’s decree and making additional operational adjustments as needed.

We appreciate the governor’s support, especially in helping us ensure patients are discharged to long-term care settings as soon as they’re ready. We look forward to returning to normal operations as soon as possible.

People with urgent conditions should continue to seek care in our emergency department—the governor’s guidance does NOT apply to emergency treatment for life-threatening injuries or conditions such as strokes, heart attacks, or anything else that warrants immediate care.”

With help from the national guard, there’s hope that non-essential surgeries will be allowed soon.

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