By Antonio Tor. Torres, Professor of Surgery at the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) Mr.ice chairman of the National Commission for Specialty in General Surgery and Digestive System
The KOVID-19 pandemic has important repercussions on the practical training of medical students and by residents of surgical specialties, threatening their training to become better surgeons.
But also surgeons must be heard given the precarious situation in which they currently work in Spain due to the pandemic, practically all her work is subject to care of patients with KOVID-19, resolution of surgical emergencies and telematic consultations. We are witnessing the cancellation or postponement of electoral operations of all kinds, endangering the survival of those in need of surgery; patients who are not KOVID-19 must also be treated with the priority and speed required by their disease.
There are patients with cancer or other non-oncological pathologies that seriously endanger health (obesity, inflammatory bowel disease …) which if not operated can have serious consequences. Hospital managers do what they can; they follow prediction models so that the hospital does not collapse. However, the reality is that many patients who are on the surgical waiting list still cannot undergo surgery and this is very serious: complications increase, prognosis worsens, and survival of patients seeking surgical treatment decreases.
“Emergency hospital surgery in Spain is in danger”
Due to its high frequency, importance and clinical implications, the delay or practical paralysis of surgery in obese patients due to KOVID-19 is particularly paradigmatic, even more knowing that obesity is an independent risk factor for serious illness and death than KOVID-19.
Both scientific societies and national commissions for surgical specialties have an ethical, moral and professional obligation to be much more present in the decision-making bodies at the local, regional, national and European Union levels. These organizations are trying to implement all the measures at their disposal to be able to change this situation. Some alternatives to consider may be:
– At the level of medical students, arbitrate emergency measures to manage material and human resources in medical schools and university hospitals that allow students to enter hospitals in an orderly and safe manner.
– Regarding the inhabitants of surgical specialties, establish measures to alleviate the situation, such as increasing surgical activity without admission or exceptional extension of their period of stay.
The world is facing a truly unforeseen situation that requires all our efforts to overcome the obstacles posed by the pandemic, without forgetting the aspects of helping and training our students and residents.