Update: July 23, 2020:
As you know, we consider our patients part of the #OCCFamily. In this ever changing COVID-19 world, we are having to make some hard decisions to keep our family safe. We have been in contact with experts in San Diego, as well as in Mexico (including UCSD in San Diego and the Ministry of Health in Mexico), to determine what would be the best plan of action.
Due to the exponential increase in COVID cases in TJ and parts of CA, and the increasing wait times to process COVID tests in the US and in Mexico, we are currently suspending surgeries until July 27th.
There have already been some border closures between Mexico and the US, and with the rising cases, there are more rumors of increased border restrictions and possible closures. Considering CA is seeing such a rise in cases, including in and around San Diego, we do not feel that it is in the best interest of our patients to be traveling at this time.
Our patient coordinators will reach out as soon as possible to find a better time for surgery. Please continue to social distance and self isolate as much as possible. Remember to wear a mask, wash your hands and avoid higher risk situations. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Additional Information: Click HERE to read the full COVID-19 Safety Brochure.
OCC’s epidemiologist is closely monitoring the COVID-19 status and is actively issuing updates as they are available. The Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization are the most trusted sources online. As we reinitiate weight loss surgery we are constantly adapting and installing new and updated safety measures.
Weight loss surgery is Medically necessary.
Bariatric Surgery and The clash of two pandemics.
Major metabolic and bariatric surgery Societies and colleges globally are now calling for the safe resumption of bariatric and metabolic surgery before the COVID-19 pandemic is declared over.
The sooner bariatric surgery can be safely performed, the quicker obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases can be reduced or resolved as they are not only chronic they are also progressive. Obesity is also linked to more than 40 diseases including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and at least 13 different types of cancer.
A recent statement from the ASMBS says “Before COVID-19 began, it was clear that patients with obesity were ‘safer through surgery’. In the era of COVID-19, ‘safer through surgery’ for patients with obesity may prove to be even more important than before.” Obesity and Metabolic syndrome, have been identified as an independent risk factor for adverse outcomes including death among COVID-19 patients.
Just a couple of days ago, The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), published their position statement entitled, “Safer Through Surgery,” As specialists in the field of Metabolic disease we strongly reject classifying metabolic and bariatric surgery as “elective”.
We use the term “Medically Necessary Time-Sensitive Surgery” or “Medically Necessary Non-Emergent Surgery” to better characterize the effectiveness of the intervention and the progressive nature of the many diseases it treats including obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular and other chronic progressive debilitating and life-threatening diseases.
Obesity Control Center Covid-19 Safety and Best Practices
As the Covid-19 pandemic evolves, OCC closely monitors research and scientific publications as well as national and international regulatory mandates and advisories. We accordingly adopt and implement safety protocols and best practices. The following is a summary of some of the measures that have been implemented to protect the patients’ wellbeing as well as that of our staff:
- Telehealth pre-screening
- Pre-travel testing
- Enhanced travel safety measures
- Transport and Hotel assurance of best practices
- Arrival and Admission limited interaction
- Re-testing (Swab/Blood/CT Scan) of all patients being admitted to OCC
- Rigorous screening and testing of all OCC staff
- Enhanced disinfection and cleaning protocols
- All OCC staff are exclusive to OCC facility
- Extremely limited access to OCC facility to third party providers, family, and visitors.
- Screening and regular testing of third party providers
- Facility improvements to air circulation including:
- Single flow redirect of airflow/recirculation through the N100 filtration system
- Enhanced air curtain flow in operating suites
- Full use of personal protection equipment at every level
These are some of the long lists of the safety measures that are now part of the OCC best practices in dealing with Covid-19 and weight loss surgery.