BSSH Members on the COVID-19 Front Line
20 April 2020 (Last updated: 5 Jul 2021 12:15)
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change the lives of many among both the general public and those in the medical community, we hear from Consultant Hand Surgeon Gill Smith based at Great Ormond Street Hospital on how her role has changed as a result of the ongoing outbreak.
In my three jobs my role has changed:
In Great Ormond Street Hospital, my elective surgery has stopped completely and all appointments are either deferred or done virtually by telephone or video consultation. Only those where there is a dressing or k wires (used for temporary fixation during surgery) in place that can’t be managed at home, are coming to the hospital. We are working from home through a Trust portal or with Trust IT equipment where possible and having MDT (Multidisciplinary team) and consultant meetings bvia Zoom. I have drawn up plans for our hospital to support surrounding units by providing a paediatric plastics and hand trauma service if the local services are unable to do so. We limit the plastic consultants in the hospital to one at a time or two if needed for surgery. Our junior staff have been redeployed to cover our surgery, medicine, ITU and oncology.
In Chelsea, I contracted COVID-19 myself, fortunately with mild symptoms. Whilst in isolation, I did an online ITU for non ITU staff course to be able to help on my return. We now run a clinic for hand trauma where trauma is seen directly from A + E during the day 7 days a week and have moved that which needs urgent but not emergency surgery to a local private hospital. We do telephone appointments for follow up patients where possible. Our juniors and some of our therapists have been largely redeployed to ITU. We have been helping our anaesthetic colleagues in creating a hand proning team to help with proning and deproning patients on ITU. I have volunteered to help with communicating with the families of those on ITU to update them on their relatives condition.
(BSSH Member Philip Mathew also pictured)
As Hand TIG (Trainee Interface Group) Chair, I have set up a plan for future virtual interviews and have been trying to update the TIG trainers and trainees as information comes from JCHT as to future plans for their posts. I helped Mark Henley in identifying national criteria for what elective/urgent surgery should still proceed in the coming months.
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