Lawmaker Calls on DeWine to Reopen Surgery Centers; Thousands of Ohioans in Medical Crisis

An Ohio representative is calling on the governor to reopen surgical centers and allow medical personnel to return to work so that Ohioans can get the health care they desperately need.

In an immediate call to action directed at Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Health Director Amy Acton, State Representative Nino Vitale said, “We cannot be so focused on one pandemic that we create three to five other health care pandemics.

“We should also be gravely concerned about the health and welfare of people who have heart problems, lung problems, colon issues, prostate or bladder surgeries, and other conditions that are not C19 related,” said Vitale.

Numerous pleas for help from constituents prompted the legislator’s email correspondence to DeWine and Acton, which was sent on April 10 but has not yet received a reply.

“There are many people waiting for surgeries that were once considered elective but have escalated into more serious issues, even critical issues,” said Vitale. “Most of these are done in outpatient surgical centers that have been shuttered.”

Vitale (R-Urbana) is serving his third term in the Ohio House and represents the 85th House District.

Read Vitale’s letter to DeWine and Acton here.

The state has been on a stay-at-home order since March 24. Medical professionals have not been told when they will be permitted to go back to work.

Vitale and some other lawmakers are starting to pressure DeWine to reopen parts of healthcare and the economy.

“We need to address the thousands of people that are really going off the deep end because of pain, cancer and other medical threats they need treatment for,” Vitale said.

Vitale said he has been contacted by general practitioners, orthopedic surgeons, a urologist and physical therapists asking when the order will be lifted, as there are patients that are being denied surgery, medical procedures, physical therapy and other medical care.

The mental health of some Ohioans is also becoming an issue, said the representative.

“When someone’s mental health starts to fail that has a presence on their immune system and this has been a really challenging time for a lot of people,” said Vitale.

Vitale said his constituents have turned to him, their government representative, for help.

“To some degree, we are pretty helpless because the governor and department of health have decided that they are going to do these things without any input from anyone else,” said Vitale. “I think that’s a dangerous place to put people in when we live in a representative republic where we expect people to represent us.”

In addition to putting the health of Ohioan’s at risk, Vitale said that the state risks losing its physicians.

“I also have doctors telling me that they have lost 85 percent of their practices and are either days or a week or so away from closing their doors permanently,” Vitale stated in the letter.

Vitale said that making health care unavailable to Ohioans is dangerous and unnecessary.

“What the doctors and nurses have told me is, ‘We are trained in disease mitigation. That’s what we do.’ To cite the spread of the coronavirus as a reason for not allowing them to work is not what we need.”

Vitale said he has been told by medical professionals there is plenty of room in hospitals.

“The hospital beds are empty. We have plenty of capacity. Word is that they are laying people off. They are laying off nurses and staff.”

Vitale said additionally there are people who had surgery before the stay-at-home order but have been unable to receive the aftercare that they need, like physical therapy.