Health order prevents Albuquerque man from surgery, causing him more pain

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque man says the state’s health order is putting his own health at risk by not allowing him to undergo an important procedure. Now, he’s looking to sue if he can’t get that surgery soon.

Edward Tsyitee was scheduled to get his gallbladder removed last month, but because his surgery was considered non-essential, his doctor postponed it. Now, his attorney is calling on the state to allow surgeries like this or else they’ll sue.

“It’s not just him that’s in this pickle. It’s a lot of people, so we need to start figuring this out,” says Blair Dunn.

Tsyitee was in a lot of pain suffering from gallstones. At the time his surgery was scheduled, the state’s health order considered gallbladder surgery a non-essential procedure.

That meant he had to wait, and because of that, he was hospitalized for internal bleeding. His attorney, Dunn, says that unnecessary hospital trip put his client and the public in more danger.

“It just increased his risk and everybody else’s risk. The risk of spread,” Dunn says.

Dunn is asking the state to revise the health order so people like Tsyitee can get these surgeries to allow them to live more comfortably. The Department of Health has since revise the order when it comes to non-essential surgeries, but Dunn claims it’s still unclear what is or is not allowed.

The state did not want to comment on this case, but they did provide us with a statement.


The Department of Health does not comment about pending litigation, but it’s worth pointing out that the public health order was amended May 1st to allow medical facilities to resume non-essential but medically necessary procedures so long as they follow state guidelines to prevent any shortage of personal protective equipment. And the original public health order about non-essential procedures in no way said they could not occur; it said physicians should postpone any procedure that could be postponed for three months without injury or harm to the patient.

– David Morgan, Department of Health

Presbyterian Hospital says it did not perform any non-essential surgeries during this time, but they will resume procedures starting Monday.


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