Coronavirus pandemic leads to surgery delays

Nando Hogan says everyone kept asking him if he was nervous about his surgery to remove some broken pieces of bone from his knee.

"And I was, like, No, I’m just ready to get it over with. And then when you found out it was on hold, That’s when I finally got bothered that I would have to wait for it and everything," Hogan recalls.

Dr. Crystal Perkins of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta says a number of surgeries had been planned for weeks.

"So many of these families, they’d had surgery scheduled for several weeks. So, they’d had it perfectly planned around vacations or trips or school," Dr. Perkins.

But that was before a new virus began making thousands of Georgians sick.

And Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the largest pediatric health system in the country, performing thousands of operations every year, had to tell its surgeons to stand down. All surgeries after Monday were going to be canceled indefinitely.

That’s when Hogan’s aunt Alicia Thompson her nerves set in.

"And it was like, ‘Oh my, God. The surgery is going to be put off. How is it going to affect him?" Thompson says.

Dr. Perkins, Hogan's orthopedic surgeon, says she reached out to every patient family affected, to explain why non-essential surgeries were on hold.

For 8 weeks Dr. Perkins didn't go into the operating room.

Hogan's surgery was delayed about a month, and when they finally were able to go in he could only have one adult with him and a lot of extra safety steps.

"It was really different because we had to keep the mask on at all times. You had to get your temperature checked," Thompson says.

With safety precautions in place, routine surgeries have returned. So, Hogan got his long-awaited surgery.

He’s doing really well. He’s fortunately recovered very nicely," Dr. Perkins says.

The wait, Hogan says, was worth it.

"I’m feeling better, I’m able to walk on it."