“It has been both nerve-racking and eye-opening to witness COVID march across the globe. In many ways, it has brought out the best and the worst in people.
It feels like a privilege to serve during these uncertain times – to show up every morning for our patients who are grappling with the outcomes of life-altering diagnoses (cancer doesn’t take a break during a global pandemic) and surgical procedures all by themselves. What worries me is that we are seeing more advanced presentations of common surgical conditions, likely driven by fear of the ED and hospital exposure [to COVID].
As surgeons, we are also worried about the immense backlog due to system-wide cancellation of scheduled surgeries.
One hospital is currently behind on nearly 2500 surgical procedures! This is bound to negatively impact patients, especially those with progressive conditions that demand timely intervention.
On the positive side, it has been wonderful to witness the breakdown of silos across specialties – we have truly united as a profession to tackle one of the greatest public health crises of our time.
One of our senior surgical fellows called me and offered to be a scribe during morning rounds. I also received emails from other fellows and staff surgeons with proposals to help with discharge summaries and ward work.
For those familiar with the surgical hierarchy, this is a big deal!
I hope this positive cultural transformation isn’t temporary. It is amazing to see what happens when we put aside our differences and titles to commit ourselves to a singular goal: excellent patient care. For me, it is this human connection that is the lifeblood of our response to COVID-19. It should be celebrated and maintained at the core of everything we do, during and after this pandemic.”