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Waco woman's eye socket surgery postponed up to 18 months due to coronavirus threat

Originally scheduled for March 23, Donisa Tucker said she now doesn't know if or when she'll be able to receive the surgery.

WACO, Texas — A Waco woman is looking for answers after she said a surgery her doctor described as urgent was postponed for possibly 18 months.

Donisa Tucker said she fell in her home three weeks ago and broke her left eye socket. A surgery was then scheduled for March 23, but with the delay, now she doesn't know if - or when - she'll have the surgery done.

"They told me they're shutting down all elective surgeries for the next 18 months," Tucker said.

Tucker said her doctor told her the concern comes as part of the coronavirus pandemic, citing a surgery in China in which the 14 medical personnel in the room contracted it from performing a procedure on a patient with the virus.

According to Tucker, her doctor told her that because of the nature of the surgery, it was urgent - but not life-threatening. With the break in her eye socket, she said her eye is slipping into a crevice in her face.

Baylor Scott & White released a statement to 6 News:

At Baylor Scott & White Health, there is nothing more important to us than the well-being of our patients and staff and the broader health of our communities. Due to patient privacy laws, we are unable to comment on an individual. We are continuously evaluating opportunities to build additional capacity in our hospitals in anticipation of future needs related to the treatment of patients diagnosed with COVID-19. As a result, our patients may request or receive requests to reschedule non-clinically urgent procedures or surgeries. 

We are evaluating each procedure and surgery based on our focus on patient safety, protecting the health and safety of our employees, and preserving resources needed to treat patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Based on a case-by-case review, we are cancelling or rescheduling clinically non-emergent procedures and surgeries as appropriate. We are balancing our ability to respond to patients in need with preparedness efforts needed to sustain our service to the community during this time.

We have an unwavering commitment to the safety of our patients, staff and visitors, and we are committed to helping our communities navigate the uncertainty of this virus.

However, Tucker said she's worried that by the time the coronavirus pandemic passes it may be too late. She described the effects of the break with pieces of the bone floating around and said her doctor tells her the longer they wait, the more the chance those pieces fuse to other parts of her face.

"I can't watch TV or drive or anything like that because the double vision is so bad," Tucker said. "This isn't like I want to do it to look pretty, my eyesight is affected."

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