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‘It just got canceled’: St. Charles elective surgery backlog still has patients waiting

(Update: Adding video, comments from patient, info from St. Charles)

"There's a lot of people out here ... who need some kind of repair work done, and with this COVID thing going on.”

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Opal Larson was scheduled for a hip replacement at St. Charles Bend, back in March of last year. She's still waiting.

"So, it just got canceled,” Larson told NewsChannel 21 on Monday. “Every operation got canceled."

Canceled is a word she has heard a lot the last year and a half.

"There was about three times, and then it would get just dropped," Larson said.

Even as Central Oregon is starting to lift more COVID-19 restrictions, people are still having trouble scheduling elective surgeries.

The Prineville resident says she used to be active outdoors, hiking and working with horses or dogs.

"My hip had degenerated due to arthritis, just due to wear and tear over a lifetime," she said.

Now, the 75-year-old cannot walk.

"It's hard to have a normal life when you can't walk," Larson said.

She’s not alone.

St. Charles started delaying elective surgeries again in April, as a surge in COVID-19 cases pushed the hospital to 92 percent capacity.

As of Monday morning, the hospital had 29 COVID patients, with seven of them in the ICU.

"There's a lot of people out here who are basically in my age bracket who need some kind of repair work done," Larson said. "And with this COVID thing going on, everything has changed."

A St. Charles representative said Monday they've just opened up a new short-stay unit that could help alleviate the inpatient backlog.

But the wait for a procedure could depend on the patient’s doctor, as well as the type of surgery or procedure. One Bend doctor recently told a patient there was a nine-month backlog for over 200 people awaiting back surgeries.

"We're senior, we're retired, we're on Social Security,” Larson said. “That limits greatly, where you can go and what you can have done."

She said she is still waiting to get scheduled, and that an end to the pandemic would help greatly toward that.

Bend / Central Oregon / Coronavirus / Health / Local News / Top Stories
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Jack Hirsh

Jack Hirsh is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jack here.



  1. Shame on them for making these people wait, pandemic or not. I’m sure all vacation hours were taken and approved by officials and doctors this past year as well.

    1. A hip surgery requires at least one night stay in the hospital. With 1-2 floors of COVID-19 patients in the hospital beds are full. There are rules in place for hospitals on capacity guidelines for when elective surgery’s can be scheduled.

      However I know people who are scheduled for hip replacement surgery right now.

      1. Really? Oh Jonassty, you really are the biggest tool in the shed. I’m not saying hang out with their spineless mayor who now, is all upset that antifa are targeting him. I’m not saying burn down buildings with blm. I’m saying there are hospitals everywhere. You know what, you are right, go out of state to RED STATE and give them your money. Screw Oregon. And you too jonassty.

      2. Hey jonassty….hospitals are nothing more than a business. Especially with expensive elective surgeries like total joint replacements. Did you know St Charles charges more than just about anyone in the state? Did you know you have the right to shop around? Liberal Hospitals in portland? You are not cooking with both burners son… You need to look outside of your tiny little life. BTW your BOI is looking so confident that the world is amazed we voted him in…….hahahaha. 120 days…give me a break….gas is almost $4 a gallon here, inflation will destroy our economy, at least what’s left. And he has the balls to poke fun at it. what a total disaster, almost as much of a disaster as Jonassty.

    1. Yes there are. About 20 years ago I had surgery done locally and couldn’t figure
      out why I wasn’t recovering like I should. A friend recommended a surgeon in
      Portland, at Providence Hospital, so I went and saw him. After about 10 minutes of
      examining me he asked, when do you want your surgery ? He told me that the surgeon
      that did the first surgery botched it. I have never heard anything bad about OHSU either.

      1. Actually it is the rise in population here in bend added with people getting paid not to have to work causing a housing crunch with the fact that no nurses can afford to move here. Did you cite anything about staffing? Nope. Just a dumb comment. You think 20 patients is the only reason at Charles has come to stand still? If so you are as dumb as I feared. Influenza usually add this many patients at times, but we need another hospital. With all of the amazing research you’ve done can you tell us how many “ covid patients” were there for something unrelated and then tested positive. Yet now are claimed a covid patienf. Go ahead I’ll wait big guy. Time to put the big tool away , back in the shed.

      2. Where did he say does not wear a mask? The hate for anyone not like you is incredible. Posts here aside, you should think about seeing a mental health expert.

  2. I think all Covid deniers should be denied required hospitalization. They hate on our system which is broken because of them and fail to understand the definition of irony.

      1. Actually the deniers are. If they can’t look beyond themselves and toward the society that has provided them with the medical benefits in addition to the prosperity that we enjoy, maybe they should be denied those benefits, or at least put to the back of the line. Being selfish is one thing, being selfish at the expense of those that are not is something else.

          1. Good for you. Too bad others also have but can’t get it because of irresponsible actions of those who ignore preventative medical procedures.

            1. You missed my point. Society didn’t provide those things, work did. As for my preventative medical procedures, I’ll go ahead and keep that between me and my doctor. They’re nobody’s business but mine.

              1. Given the average cost of a hospital visit starts at around $3k and goes to around $12K for an overnight stay, the true costs of advanced medical care are picked up by society for all but perhaps the very wealthiest Americans (although the wealthiest are theoretically intelligent people and would have medical insurance). Society also chips in at basically every level of the medical system. You are not quite the island of prosperity you think you are.

                1. So insurance premiums are paid by society? Didn’t see that line on my pay stub.

                2. Well said but you do realize this will fly right over the covidiots’ heads, right?

              2. You missed my point. Others have also worked as hard if not harder than you and paid their debts to society through taxes, service to their country, and other ways. It return, society through various programs has promised them certain benefits. Those promises are sometimes jeopardized by irresponsible behavior of others that conflict with the good of society. Sounds like you are one.

                1. If more people believed in personal responsibility and accountability, the “good of society” would take care of itself.

        1. I don’t believe you got it for the good of society, that’s your claim so you can look virtuous. I haven’t had it, I’ve taken all the other precautions so, how could I spread it? I’m not even in contact with people. Also, H1N1 was actually more severe than covid but we didn’t have the created national panic and it went away in about 14 months.

          But I guess you believe Truimp “saved the world” with “Warp Speed”.

            1. Come up with a better rebuttal next time. Kate Clown never said he could run a hospital better. Would me going to the store and seeing all the shelves stripped clean and saying “gee, they need to hire more people to stock or order more stuff

            2. Sent the other comment too early. Anyways would saying “gee maybe they should hire more staff to stock these shelves, or order more stuff” make it sound like I know how to run the whole store? No! Anyone with half a wit can put two and two together that the reason st charles has a backlog of patients is because they can’t accommodate bends growth, since there are more people. Now that doesn’t mean everyone knows how to run a hospital…. St charles should have allowed providence to open their hospital, but of course they are money hungry and want all the patients…

              1. “St charles should have allowed providence to open their hospital, but of course they are money hungry and want all the patients…”

                I agree, Bend desperately needs another hospital, but how is it up to St Chucks to decide whether a competitor can open a facility ?
                It wasn’t that many years ago that St Chucks was a highly regarded facility,
                with very good doctors. Now the care can vary dramatically from day to day,
                and all you can do is cross your fingers and hope you get one of the doctors
                that is actually competent and cares about their patients. There are still
                a few there that do. It would be really nice if they would actually teach people how to do an I.V or draw blood without having big black and blue spots on your arm too. There again, there are a few that do a great job, but a
                large number of the people are absolutely horrible.

    1. Well – I think all Gov. Brown lovers and COVID fear mongers should go to the big cities where they belong and not insult the freedoms of millions of American citizens who have the right to make up their own minds about getting an injection into their own bodies. MANY people are still suffering in great PAIN due to necessary surgeries being postponed often needlessly; some people’s cancers have metastasized; and some people have just plain DIED while waiting for their important, necessary operations. How DARE you, you little person “jo-nasty”, say such a cruel and vicious thing about any person who doesn’t fit in your own little box. You are a sad and disgusting human being.

      1. If vaccination only affect you, that’s one thing. However, infection resulting from lack of vaccination potentially affects the others from your unnecessary demands on the medical system, increased insurance costs because of your lack of social responsibility, and other impacts (like having to wear face masks to do certain things). If you want to be totally free of these restrictions, requirements, or other societal pressures, go find a desert island (and one that’s well above the rising sea level that other short-term thinkers have helped create).

        1. Infectious diseases and viruses have been around since the beginning of time. Vaccinations have been around for decades. Is this the first one that you have asserted that people have no choice? My body, my choice…right?

            1. Did i say i was upset? Did i say I needed an elective medical procedure? By the way, I would bet that more people have died in Deschutes county this past year from lack of preventative/elective treatment than the 80 something COVID deaths.

                1. That has literally nothing to do with elective or preventative care. Nice try though.

      2. Yup, and if people had gotten vaccinated sooner, it would have freed up beds for those people who “just plain DIED while waiting for their important, necessary operations”. Too bad Trump poo-pooed the whole thing. What a sad and disgusting human being.

        1. You mean the vax trump got started? Yeah, if people got it any sooner they would’ve been in a lab. AND people who get it now will always be test subjects until it is FDA approved. Not sure why none you liberal cnn db’s don’t understand SCIENCE!!! What’s your thought on people getting inflammation of the heart muscle after getting the shot? NO big deal probably. HAHAHHAAA BOB the Build it back Better…ahahahahah

            1. If Biden was somehow able to stumble his way through the remaining 3 1/2 years,
              he would be able to claim that title but there is no way that will happen.
              I’d be surprised if he makes it another six months before he completely loses
              his marbles.

        2. Remember, Trump (and his 3rd wife) got vaccinated in early January, in secret, because he didn’t want to ruin his “tough guy image”. This after supposedly both having had Covid. Imagine what could have been if we’d had a guy in charge less concerned with his image & re-election and more concerned with American lives? What a different world we’d be in right now.

    2. Jonassty…hahahaha….sure.. Are you saying covid deniers? Or people that are hesitant to get the experimental non fda approved med that hasn’t been properly tested for safety. Because I think a lot of people are waiting to get the vax and absolutely don’t think covid is fake…as you say. BTW….when do you need to get a booster shot? OH NO ONE KNOWS??? HAHAHA. All that myocarditis, probably another conspiracy theory right? HAHAHA. You ARE the BIGGEST tool in the shed.

  3. First of all the health system was never strained as a direct result of COVID. The health system was strained due to the hysterical reaction to a virus. For many months in the beginning of this hysteria all medical procedures had been postponed, unless absolutely necessary. This build up is the cause of what you are seeing right now. Talk about short sightedness?? I am going to go out on a limb and make a few predictions here on what we are going to start seeing in relation to this virus.
    1. Asymptomatic spread is not real, or is so rare that it is inconsequential.
    2. The reaction we had to this virus was 90 percent political.
    3. Dr. Fauci is a politician in Scientific clothing.
    4. The virus likely originated from the Wuhan lab, and the US government likely helped finance the creation.

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