Providence postpones Spokane man’s surgery to make more room for COVID-19 patients

SPOKANE, Wash. – Imagine not being able to put on socks and shoes easily.

That’s the reality right now for Jacob Bird.

“It’s been a really long time coming as far as waiting to get the hip replacement,” he told 4 News Now.

Bird says he broke his hip in 2000 when he was in the military. He’s had arthritis and other issues since then. In 2015, he wanted to get a hip replacement, but doctors told him he was too young then, so instead they did some corrective surgery.

In January of this year, it got to the point where he couldn’t take it anymore, and wanted to go to the VA and get a hip replacement.

Since the beginning of this year, it’s been back and forth with the VA and other doctors to finally get it done. Two weeks ago he finally saw a surgeon who scheduled his hip replacement for December 7.

“I can barely put my – it’s embarrassing to say. I played sports all my life and always been athletic and everything but it’s hard for me to even put on my left shoe on or my sock. It’s a strain,” he said.

Bird also has two young kids, and it’s been tough to keep up with them.

“It limits us as to what we can do as a family, so I was really looking forward to getting the surgery so I cannot have to be a burden or limit myself in spending time with them,” he said.

Then, Bird received a call Wednesday morning from the surgeon’s office. They had to postpone his hip replacement.

RELATED: Providence to reschedule some elective surgeries, procedures starting Wednesday

Providence announced Wednesday it will start rescheduling some elective surgeries on a case-by-case basis.

“Sacred Heart Medical Center and Holy Family Hospital are taking steps to ensure we have capacity to care for our community,” a statement read. “This action is directly related to conserving critical care beds and staff as we can for our highest numbers of patients with COVID-19 to date.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Spokane Regional Health District said 127 people are currently hospitalized in a Spokane hospital because of COVID-19.

MultiCare also said it’s recently had to “pull back” on some procedures to make sure there is additional capacity.

“Surgeons have been asked to use their best clinical judgement to determine whether something can be delayed in the best interest of patient care. For patients that are impacted by these decisions, we are in regular communication,” a statement from Multicare read.

Both hospital systems are preparing for a surge in patients are more people continue to test positive for COVID, especially with the holidays and gatherings.

Bird says there isn’t a date set for when he’d get his surgery yet, but doctors told him  he’d be the second person in line to get surgery with his surgeon when it’s possible again.

Here’s what Providence said in deciding how to reschedule some surgeries:

“We understand that rescheduling surgery or a planned procedure is never easy. That is why each patient’s situation is carefully reviewed by a team of experts to determine if a delay of 90 days or more from the date of review would cause harm to the patient. A number of criteria are taken into account, including such things as the urgency of the surgery, duration of symptoms and the risks associated with a delay. We work to find the best solution for each patient. 

We recognize this is not ideal, but the pandemic has now reached a point in which we must delay some non-urgent or elective surgeries and procedures in order to continue providing care to all those who require hospitalization.  Our hospitals do not have unlimited capacity…”

Even though Bird has to wait to do more fun things with his family again, he understands what’s going on.

“I don’t blame the hospital system for this… I can’t really put blame on anywhere except for the fact that we’re not where we need to be health wise as a country and a city,” he told 4 News Now. “So, I have no animosity toward the hospital system, it’s just depressing and unfortunate that I have to wait, but I’d gladly give up my spot for somebody else that needs it more seriously than I do.”

RELATED: Health officials concerned about rising COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations in Washington