With all elective surgeries on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, some eyebrows were raised when it was announced that Noah Syndergaard would have Tommy John surgery immediately rather than wait.
On Monday, Emma Baccellieri of SI published a piece after speaking with medical ethicists about whether it is wrong for players to get Tommy John surgery in the current climate.
When Pete Alonso got wind of the piece, he weighed in on the situation (and the article) in a series of tweets, coming down firmly in support of Syndergaard -- who had surgery in Florida on Thursday -- and other pitchers. For example, Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox also underwent the procedure.
"Who is to judge someone's medical needs in order to perform their job? Noah's surgery, or any other athlete's surgery during this time shouldn't be scrutinized considering it is done by orthopedic surgeons, not those on the frontlines battling this pandemic," Alonso tweeted. "Medical supplies are high in demand. The issue isn't Noah needing surgery and getting it. The issue I have is that the tone of this article suggests that players are making the decisions to get surgeries.
"Medical staff and doctors at the hospital deem if the surgery is necessary or not. Why weren't any of the individuals that deemed these surgery necessary involved in the article? In order for a surgery to happen, there are guidelines and approvals that need to be made. ... No athlete wants to go through a serious surgery and grueling recovery process. This surgery is done when it is absolutely necessary for their arm."
That call was made by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who said that Syndergaard's surgery was not elective because of the impact it has on his career.
"I know that I'm going to get criticized for taking care of these kinds of guys, but it's essential to their livelihoods," ElAttrache told the San Francisco Chronicle. "If you have somebody's career at stake and they lose two seasons instead of one, I would say that is not a non-essential or unimportant elective procedure."
Syndergaard, like all pitchers who undergo Tommy John surgery, is expected to need 12-to-16 months of recovery and rehab before he's back on a big league mound.