Woman in need of non-urgent procedure celebrates end to ban

With Gov. Kate Brown announcing non-urgent medical procedures can resume, some who have been living with pain say it's about time.

Posted: Apr 27, 2020 6:12 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- With Gov. Kate Brown announcing non-urgent medical procedures can resume May 1, some who have been living with pain say it's about time.

Tasha Askegreen began searching for relief from excruciating knee pain three years ago, but after being told nothing could be done by surgeons in Florence or at the Slocum Center, but a local surgeon finally agreed to replace her knee.

But then she hit another hitch -- the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to all non-urgent surgeries in the state of Oregon. The decision from the state to was intended to preserve personal protective equipment for use in the coronavirus response.

RELATED: BROWN PLANS TO LIFT RESTRICTIONS ON NON-URGENT MEDICAL PROCEDURES

Askegreen said she feels like she's at the mercy of anyone who will take her in right now. And she said she prays it's soon because no one should have to live like this.

"I just turned 49 and my husband is my in-home caregiver -- I mean its kind of humiliating," she said.

Askegreen has a degenerative bone disease which requires a full knee replacement and even though it's considered non-urgent, the pain is front and center.

"I shouldn't have to live like this," she said.

Dr. Andrea Halliday, Chief Medical Officer for PeaceHealth Oregon, said she agrees with the timing, but that it needs to be taken with caution.

"The reason for that is just like Governor Brown said -- we have to test the ice," she said.

She said a non-urgent procedure is "an operation that can wait 90 days without causing harm to someone's physical or mental state."

Knee replacements like the one Askegreen says she needs fall under this category.

"I'm excited that we're finally moving forward. It makes it feel like there's some hope, but on the other hand I'm at their mercy. Where do I fit in their line up?" Askegreen said.

Halliday said they are making changes at PeaceHealth such as testing any patient admitted at their hospitals for coronavirus whether they are showing symptoms or not.

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