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Madison patients eager to see procedures rescheduled

hospitals opening

MADISON (WKOW) -- For the past month, hospitals have postponed nonessential procedures and surgeries to ensure their staff had the resources necessary to treat coronavirus patients.

Now there's a glimmer of hope for those left waiting. Madison's hospitals announced Thursday they're going to work to get those procedures back on track.

It's welcome news for families like Kymm Pfister's.

Up until last month, she said her son's medical schedule made her a frequent guest at American Family Children's Hospital.

"Gus went from having appointments every week to none, zero, nothing," she said.

Her 12-month-old had orthopedic checkups, pulmonary appointments and, most importantly, preparations for one very important procedure.

"This has been something that we've been working towards since he was born," Pfister said. "Before he was born, we knew he needed a kidney transplant."

Last month, all the pieces were there. His surgery was on the calendar and his mother would be the donor.

"He was supposed to have his transplant on April 29th," she said. "On April 6th, we got the call from his transplant coordinator."

The coordinator said Gus' kidney would have to wait. Pfister said her son is on dialysis so the surgery isn't urgent, though he can't wait forever.

"We're hoping for the end of May, but it may very well be June, July, we just don't know yet," she said.

Ann Lewandowski said her cancellation was much more sudden.

"The day before I was going to go into my appointment they were rescheduling appointments at UW and it was deemed not essential," she said.

Lewandowski said she had been working for six months to schedule and secure insurance payment for an orthopedic that would help her manage pain and help her walk with MS.

"It's so frustrating and difficult because the symptoms that I had, started more than a year ago," she said.

Both women say they understood the decision especially because their conditions put them at a heightened health risk.

Now Pfister said she's optimistic this is a sign it will soon be safe for her son to come in for his kidney.

"I'm hopeful that now that things are starting to open up that he'll get it sooner than what we think," she said.

Spokespersons from UW Health and SSM Health said patients won't hear anything immediately. Doctors are just beginning to contact patients to reschedule. Both hospitals said they'll start with their most urgent cases first.