11-year-old’s spine surgery postponed for the third time due to hospital capacity

Bella Parkin, 11, has been waiting eight months for spinal surgery to relieve her constant pain.

Intermountain Healthcare has temporarily canceled elective inpatient and outpatient surgeries as COVID-19 patients have depleted hospital space and staff.

“I have a lot of anxiety having to wait, and with that anxiety, it’s hard for me to eat and get a good night’s sleep,” Bella said.

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Bella was born with spina bifida and suffers from severe scoliosis. Her spinal cord has rare tumors, is cut in half and tied near the top.

“Why can’t they just let me in?” Why did it not work the first time, why it did not work the second time and especially why it did not work this time? Bella mentioned the surgery postponements.

Bella’s mother Falynn Parkin said Bella is in constant pain and these conditions can hamper her breathing and prevent her heart from fully swelling.

The surgeries can help considerably, but the three surgeries that Bella needs should be done in order.

“You can imagine the mental toll this has on these kids, they are anticipating this huge surgery that you have to get ready,” Falynn said.

Bella was due to have surgery on November 5, but it was postponed the day before.

Falynn contacted Intermountain Healthcare, and they responded with a letter explaining the pandemic and factors beyond their control forced the delays.

“It’s hard to see your child who is still in pain, and if I could, you know, I would take his place because it’s hard to watch, and it feels so unfair,” Falynn said.

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Falynn and Bella have to quarantine themselves for over a week before each scheduled surgery, which is the time when Bella misses school and the job Falynn misses for which she is not paid.

Falynn said Bella’s surgeon’s hands were tied, adding “we’ve had a lot of conversations where he said, you know, I’m defending Bella.”

Utah currently has one of the worst case counts per 100,000 people in the country, which is one reason Intermountain Healthcare said it had to delay elective procedures.

A spokesperson for Intermountain said they couldn’t speak to specific patients, but have been caring for an extremely high number of COVID and non-COVID patients for months.

Patient volumes are currently exceeding normal winter peaks, and they said surgery delays until November 28 are aimed at ensuring the safety of the patients they are currently treating.

“It’s hard to see your little kid asking: when can I feel better, when can they help me? “And I don’t know the answer to that,” Falynn said.

Falynn said she is grateful to Primary Children’s Hospital and its surgeon, but feels like the wrong people are paying the price for the hospital’s historically full capacity.

“I think we have to find a better solution, there has to be a different option for these kids,” Falynn said.

Bella’s surgery is rescheduled for January 26, 2022.

Intermountain asks the community to help it by getting vaccinated.

They said they were reaching out to families to reschedule and reassign surgical workers in other areas of the hospital to help.

Here is the full statement from Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital to 2News:

Unfortunately, we are unable to handle specific patient cases due to federal HIPAA privacy laws. However, we can confirm that caregivers at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital have been caring for an extremely high number of patients for many months. This includes COVID and non-COVID patients, an influx of patients with respiratory illnesses, such as RSV, and trauma-related injuries.

Our patient volumes now exceed typical winter surge levels, which is unprecedented. Our typical inpatient volume at this time of year is approximately 180 patients. In the high respiratory season, we have an average of 230 patients. Recently, we treated 249 hospital patients.

Patient safety is the number one concern and priority. To ensure that staff and resources are best able to meet the needs of patients and maintain the safety and well-being of patients and caregivers, Primary Children’s Hospital delays all elective surgeries and procedures to inpatients and outpatients until November 28.

We contact the families of patients to reschedule non-urgent surgeries and procedures. We deploy caregivers in the surgical and procedural areas to care for patients in other areas of the hospital. “

We ask all members of the community to help us by doing everything possible to stay safe and healthy by masquerading in public, socially distancing indoors, observing good hand hygiene and observing good hand hygiene. getting vaccinated against influenza and COVID-19.

– Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital


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