Journal Article

Deferral of elective surgeries during the COVID‑19 pandemic and its impact on Palestinian patients: a cross‑sectional study

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Background During the Covid-19 epidemic, the increased number of people seeking medical attention worsened hospital shortages. This shortage required reallocating the workforce, personal protective equipment (PPE), medical equipment, medical disposables, and hospital wards. This reallocation delayed a number of elective surgeries. This study explored the financial, physical, and psychological implications of deferring elective surgeries on Palestinians in three West Bank hospitals during the pandemic. 

Methods This cross-sectional study included 398 patients from tertiary hospitals in Palestine whose elective surgical procedures were deferred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Between 8/8/2021 and 6/9/2021, data were collected on patients who had elective surgery deferral at three government hospitals in the West Bank of the Palestinian territories.
There were five parts to the study tool; personal information, access to the health system, physical affection, financial effect, and psychological effect. Statistical analysis included a univariate, bivariate and multivariate.

Results The healthcare system’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic directly affected patients whose surgeries were deferred. The healthcare system’s response was the cause of the delay in 91.5% of the cases. Orthopedic and neurological surgeries account for 48.3% of deferred surgery. Other than delayed surgeries, 30.2% of patients were unable to get additional health care services. Physically, 55.5% of patients were impacted, 45% were anxious, and 29.6% were

Conclusions Patients who had procedures deferred as a result of the healthcare system’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic were impacted physically, financially, and psychologically. There should bea better crisis management strategyto ensure that certain hospitals are able to operate regularly despite the situation.

Date Published
April 2023
Conflict and Health
Journal Name
Conflict and Health
Surgical deferral
Anxiety and depression
Physical impact
Financial impact