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San Antonio ER doctor says it’s safe to come to the hospital for elective surgeries, non-COVID-19 emergencies

SAQ: Your coronavirus questions answered

SAN ANTONIO – Surgeons in hospitals in San Antonio and around Texas have started to do elective surgeries and other non-emergency procedures this week, after Gov. Greg Abbott issued an order that loosened those restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Robert Frolichstein, an emergency room physician at Methodist Hospital, said while it was necessary to put those procedures on hold to make sure that hospitals could deal with COVID-19 needs, doctors are eager to help patients with other important issues.

Related: Local doctors prepare to resume elective surgeries

“The restrictions were put in place not really because it was unsafe to be in the hospital, but it was to conserve our personal protective equipment or PPE, and prevent exposure of the health care workers to potential patients or asymptomatic carriers,” Frolichstein said.

There were people who had to put important surgeries on hold, including cancer patients. The loosened restrictions will allow doctors to complete those procedures.

Frolichstein said hospitals will continue to make sure that there will be enough beds available for any COVID-19 patients who may need them.

The emergency room doctor also urged people who are having serious medical issues to come to the ER if they need to. Some people have avoided emergency rooms even though they’re suffering from serious injuries or illness, fearing they would be putting themselves at risk for getting COVID-19.

“It’s safe to come to the emergency department if you have an emergency,” Frolichstein said. “We have processes in place to put you in a safe area.”

You can watch the full segments of Thursday’s Q&A with Dr. Frolichstein in the video player at the top of this article. Click on the questions below to see Dr. Frolichstein’s answers to the following viewer questions:

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