DEAR HARRIETTE: I was scheduled to have surgery to repair a hernia when the COVID-19 virus broke out. Every elective surgery was canceled, including mine. I was going to have this surgery because where the hernia is feels uncomfortable, and the doctor recommended it. This isn’t like a boob job or something -- not to put anybody down for what they do. But this seemed essential for me. In my town, they are now allowing elective surgeries. I need to have this hernia repaired, but I am worried about going into a hospital with COVID-19 possibly lurking. How do you know when it’s safe to go? -- Elective Surgery
DEAR ELECTIVE SURGERY: Talk to your doctor. Express all of your concerns, and find out what his or her recommendation is under the circumstances. Also, do your own research. Find out if the facility where you will have the procedure has seen cases of COVID-19. If so, are there still coronavirus patients?
Know that elective surgery is the way that doctors make money, so they are likely eager to reopen their practices and offer as many elective surgeries as they can safely handle. With that in mind, you will need to weigh the risk versus the need. Ask your doctor how long you can safely put off this surgery. It could be that there is little risk if you delay it for a few months. On the flip side, if you do it soon, your recovery time won’t be a problem for work since you have to stay home anyway.