With questions being raised as to whether athletes should have orthopedic operations such as Tommy John surgery at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is ongoing, the best-known practitioner of the procedure has stopped performing it for the time being.
A spokesperson for the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in Florida — the facility where Dr. James Andrews performs ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (better known as Tommy John surgery) — said the Institute has stopped performing the procedure at this time.
“We are not performing any non-urgent or non-emergent procedures, including Tommy John surgery, in compliance with the governor’s executive order,” the spokesperson wrote. ”We are adhering to these restrictions and all such cases are suspended at this time.”
The decision to suspend such surgeries represents an effort to comply with an executive order issued earlier this month by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. That order, which was issued March 20, prohibits "any medically unnecessary, non-urgent or non-emergency procedure or surgery which, if delayed, does not place a patient’s immediate health, safety or wellbeing at risk, or will, if delayed, not contribute to the worsening of a serious or life-threatening medical condition.”
Other doctors have performed Tommy John surgeries in recent weeks. The Red Sox announced that Chris Sale had the surgery done Monday in Los Angeles by Dr. Neal ElAttrache. Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek performed the surgery last week on righthander Noah Syndergaard at the Hospital for Special Surgery in West Palm Beach, Fla.