As we enter this new year, it almost feels like deja vu. We keep getting wave after wave of this current virus. And the ramifications seem the same. Last Thursday around 4 pm I got a call from the hospital that we would have to decrease our surgical cases because there is a shortage of staff (due to being out sick from COVID). This translates to patients not getting the spine and brain surgeries that are needed allowing for potentially life-altering neurological conditions to continue. Additionally, this means that with a 50% reduction in surgical case volume, we delay patients having their surgery and create a major backlog. Our clinic has been hit with nearly 50% of our staff testing positive, which means that we have once again gone to telemedicine visits. While we would much rather see our patients in person and perform the exams in person, and thankfully we have the technology in this day and age to see our patients virtually, to ensure the safety of our patients and staff we have had to resort to these strict measures.
Here’s what Dr. Mesiwala has to say:
So COVID in general has caused all of us to rethink how we approach medicine and daily healthcare. As a result, normal hygiene that we expect in the medical and surgical world is a common expectation for everyone and everyday life. The other issue is, vaccinations will need to be standardized and boosters will become an annual event for different variations of COVID and other viruses. Ultimately like other viruses, we will have to learn to live with this and modify our lifestyles accordingly. The other issue will be managing expectations for patients, their families, and healthcare providers in an environment where we face viruses and bacteria that are more virulent and difficult to treat.
We currently test our staff at least weekly if not more frequently, even those that are vaccinated. The expectation is similar for patients who are having surgery. We test everyone before operations and often times at the hospital to get repeat tests depending on how long they are there for. Like any other preoperative requirement, this is becoming a standardized requirement, part of our checklist.
If we all do our part, collectively, we can get through this together and safely. In the meantime, use the basic measures of keeping your friends/family/loved ones safe.