Abilene resident’s brain surgery postponed, one of many cases falling under ‘elective surgery’ category

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — Abilene resident Craig Churchill, who was scheduled to undergo brain surgery, was met with disappointment. His two-part operation was scheduled for the third week of March in Austin, but as COVID-19 gripped the state of Texas, the hospital postponed the surgery indefinitely to ensure patient capacity.

“It was disappointing for sure, but it made perfect sense,” said Churchill. “I mean, I thought it was the right decision. I mean, I would have hated to have gone in and…[take] up a bed that someone else needed.”

Nearly seven years ago, Churchill began to develop a tremor in his right hand; he was later diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

“It’s a progressive disorder,” said Churchill. “It’s going to get worse. There’s no cure for it, but
you can slow the progression.”

After years of taking medication, his doctor urged him to undergo a brain surgery to relieve his symptoms and improve his overall nerve functions. Churchill said while the procedure is obviously substantial, it is considered low-risk.

“They’ve perfected it,” said Churchill. “They’ve done it for some time now. And, among the major surgeries, it’s really among the major surgeries it’s really among some of the safer ones.”

Soon after Churchill received the news of his surgery’s postponement, Governor Abbott announced a mandated postponement of all elective surgeries. But now, four Texas senators are asking him to reconsider. On April 10, senators Dawn Buckingham M.D , Charles Schwertner M.D., Donna Campbell M.D. and Lois Kolkhorst drew up a letter with a two-fold request of Governor Abbott.

The first issue they addressed in the letter is to expand resources for local hospitals including P.P.E. As of Sunday, Abbott extended his disaster declaration for the state, meeting this exact need. The second issue they addressed is to resume elective surgeries, emphasizing that many of these procedures can improve the quality of life for patients across the state.

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