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What It Really Means to Cancel Elective Surgeries

The Atlantic

Credit: RICHARD ROSS / GETTY

theatlantic.com

Three weeks ago, Robert Cruickshank went to the ER in Seattle with terrible abdominal pain. The diagnosis? Gallstones. The hospital gave him strong painkillers and urged him to come back again—and soon—to have his gallbladder removed. “It doesn’t have to happen tonight,” he recalls the doctors saying, “but get it scheduled as soon as possible.” No one yet knew that the coronavirus was already spreading undetected through the city. Cruickshank briefly wondered if this virus in the news would affect things when scheduling the surgery for yesterday, but his doctor didn ...