We know that you have concerns about the coronavirus situation, and how it affects your travel to our facility and your care at the Hypospadias Specialty Center. It is our main priority to provide you with the best possible care in the safest possible environment. To do that, we are taking greater precautions than most hospitals and surgery centers, with the goal of keeping the virus outside the building.
Our center only treats hypospadias. Unlike hospitals, there are no ill patients in our facility.
To our knowledge, all hospitals are testing patients before surgery. However, we are testing the patient and the family members who will accompany him into the surgery center on the day of his operation. This is being done to protect patients, since the virus has effects on both children and adults which can potentially impair wound healing.
It also means that other families you might see here have also tested negative, which means you are safer than you might be in a typical hospital around others who could have the virus and are not careful to keep their masks covering their nose and mouth.
In addition, your family will have its own private waiting room in our surgery center, used only by you on the day of surgery. Each room provides tv and internet for your convenience, and inside that room with the door closed you can remove your mask and enjoy refreshments, such as coffee, that you can bring with you.
We also test our staff and physicians on a regular basis for coronavirus, so that you can be reassured that the people caring for your patient and interacting with your family have recently tested negative. This is another precaution we are taking beyond what hospitals are doing.
Finally, Dr Snodgrass or Dr Bush calls every family a few weeks ahead of the scheduled surgery to discuss the latest safety precautions for you to consider during your travel and stay.
The Coronavirus Situation In Our Area
We are closely monitoring the situation in The Colony, where the Hypospadias Specialty Center is located. This is over 20 miles from Dallas, where most the coronavirus cases in our region have occurred. The nearest hospital where covid patients are treated is 5 miles away, and they have consistently reported that only 5% of their patients have the virus.
Planning Your Travel
The safest way to travel here is by car, and after the operation your son can safely and comfortably sit in his usual car seat for the return home.
It is also safe to fly, especially if you take some extra precuations. First, parents and adults should obtain N95 masks to wear. Those can be in short supply, but painters also wear N95 masks and theirs are just as effective. You should not remove the mask at any time during the flight if at all possible, which means you should not eat or drink on the plane.
It is also a good idea to turn on the air nozzles overhead to keep the air around you disturbed, similar to being outside.
There are face shields available for infants and small boys. You can also wrap a blanket around the shield to act as a mask and provide another layer of protection.
In addition, it is best to wear the mask at all times through the airports. If you need to eat, then we suggest you carry your food to a place well away from others before taking off your mask, and then put it back on promptly.
For those flying internationally, we recommend you consider scheduling your meals at different times than the routine service, so that you are eating when others have finished and have placed their masks back on.
Planning Your Stay
Probably the most safe option is to rent an air b&b or an RV during your stay in our area. If you stay in a hotel, we suggest you request a first floor room in advance, so that you do not need to use an elevator.
When you first arrive at either an air b&B or a hotel, it is a good idea to wait an hour or so after it was cleaned before entering, and then to wear your N95 mask when your move in and as you sanitize surfaces. It is also best to tell the hotel you do not wish for maid service during your stay, and that they should leave your fresh towels and toiletries either outside or just inside your door.
If you plan to stay with family in our area, then we strongly suggest they be tested for coronavirus before your arrival. Otherwise, you will need to wear masks and stay at least 6 feet apart from them.
Before your visit
Our nurses will be calling before your visit to review the recent health of everyone in your household and their contacts. If anyone has had symptoms which could be from the virus, we will ask that person and your son be tested.
We strongly recommend that your household quarantine for 2 weeks prior to surgery. That includes avoiding all activities outside your home which are not absolutely necessary. For those which cannot be avoided, we strongly recommend that you wear masks the entire time, stay at least 6 feet from everyone else, limit your time in any room or building to the minimum possible, wear gloves, and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. We specifically ask that you not go to restaurants, barber shops, movies, or stores during this time.
The day before surgery
You will need to arrive in Dallas no later than 48 hours before surgery, and drive straight to Realtime Laboratories, 4100 Fairway Drive, Carrollton to test you and your son. This lab is nearby, and their trained technician will perform the nasal swabs outside, at your car. This must be done by 10 am 48 hours before surgery to ensure we have results in time.
You may choose to arrive earlier and have testing done 48 hours before the operation, this is what we strongly recommend. Patients having surgery on Mondays must have their testing done Friday or at the latest Saturday before 10 am. Tests you might have had elsewhere will not substitute for this testing. We cannot perform any surgery without these results.
Then please proceed to your hotel or AirB&B. Your surgeon will Facetime or Zoom you in the early evening the day before surgery to discuss the test results and plans for surgery. We ask that you not come to the facility at this time.
The anesthesiologist will also contact you the evening before surgery. For patients whose surgery is Monday, expect a call Sunday evening.
The day of surgery
We must ask that only two caregivers accompany your son (or the patient) to PARC Surgery on the day of his operation. Please notify us when you arrive and a nurse will meet you at the entrance. She will provide you both with a mask. We ask that you wear this at all times inside the facility.
The nurse will do a final review of recent symptoms, take your temperatures, and weigh your son. The anesthesiologist will perform his examination.
We will provide you with a sanitized iPad to keep with you during your stay. Please feel free to bring your personal laptop.
During surgery, the nurse will discuss postoperative instructions with you in detail by Facetime.
After the operation, we will talk with you via Facetime to explain what we did and what to expect.
The care of your son will be exactly as it was before the pandemic, except that we will need to limit face-to-face contact as much as possible - for your and our safety.
Our safety precautions
Before you arrive, and after your leave, every area you enter will be sanitized.
All the surgeons, nurses, and secretaries have their temperatures checked each day. Coronavirus testing is done often on a regular schedule, and as needed for any possible symptoms. We maintain physical distancing, wear masks at all times, hold our meetings by Zoom, and sanitize our hands frequently. All our staff are following the same recommendations made to you, limiting exposure outside their homes and wearing masks, avoiding physical contacts, and washing their hands when they must be outside.
Last minute changes
The coronavirus health situation is fluid, and subject to unforeseen changes at any time. We are monitoring developments and recommendations from health authorities constantly, and intend to notify families of any changes to these processes as soon as possible.
Please inform the office of your departure date and time if you are traveling here, especially if you are flying, so that we can reach you on short notice if the need arises.
We hope to not inconvenience anyone during the pandemic. Please understand if we have to change plans and reschedule surgery if developments in the Dallas area make that necessary, or if you or your son have a positive test or fever or other symptoms which are worrying for infection the day of surgery.