Blog
Increased Interest in Critical Care Among Anesthesia Residents During COVID-19 Pandemic
by Shahla Siddiqui, MBBS, MSc (Medical ethics)

The COVID-19 pandemic created a unique crisis in healthcare across the world. Due to the shortage of staff to cover surge intensive care units in many hospitals, the Society of Critical Care Medicine, among other organizations, recommended a tiered approach to forming surge capacity teams for coverage of additional critical care beds. These models seek to extend the expertise and oversight of intensivists, and other critical care professionals, to a greater number of patients via a multidisciplinary team.

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Editor’s Message
by Craig S. Jabaley, MD

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this issue of Interchange is devoted to COVID-19. As a professional society comprised of critical care anesthesiologists, SOCCA members have responded in numerous ways to the unfolding pandemic: clinical care at the bedside, reconfiguring perioperative spaces, leading surge responses at all levels, developing clinical and operational guidance at the national level, and remaining at the forefront of investigative efforts. In the meantime, the critical care fellowship match cycle has drawn to a close, and those of us in academic settings are both celebrating our departing trainees while preparing for the influx of new faces.

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ABA’s Response to COVID-19
by David O. Warner, MD

Given the extraordinary disruption to training and medical practice caused by COVID-19, the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) has taken swift action to relax policies, offering increased flexibility for anesthesiologists. The Board has also worked to provide seamless access to educational and mental health resources for impacted physicians.

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The New York City Experience
by Brent Kidd, MD

Natalia Ivascu, MD (Weill Cornell Medicine) and Jonathan Hastie, MD (Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons) are critical care and adult cardiothoracic anesthesiologists in New York City. Their leadership of a coordinated COVID-19 pandemic response across the New York-Presbyterian health care system was recently featured in NEJM Catalyst.

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Effective Data Handling To Improve Patient Outcomes In The Era Of COVID-19
by Dustin Rumpel, MD, Piyush Mathur, MD, FCCM, and Ashish K. Khanna MD, FCCP, FCCM

Among its many impacts, COVID-19 has spawned a plethora of early data and literature. That which is not high-quality may hinder progress toward our understanding of the disease. Critical care and, more broadly, perioperative medicine are clinical arenas that generate massive volumes of data. As we routinely care for patients with COVID-19 in those settings, these data hold promise to further our understanding of the disease.

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COVID-19 Letters
by Nicole M. King, MD

Nicole King is an anesthesiologist and critical care physician at the University of Cincinnati. She is currently obtaining her Executive Masters in Clinical Quality, Patient Safety and Leadership at Georgetown University. She answered a call for volunteers in New York and staffed a repurposed operating room intensive care unit for a month. While there, she chronicled her experience via e-mail. Excerpts from those e-mails are reproduced below. Only minor edits have been made where necessary for readability and to guard privacy.

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Ethical and Moral Principles During a Pandemic
by Shahla Siddiqui, MBBS, MSc (Medical ethics)

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised many ethical and moral dilemmas in the realm of public health, social order, duty of care, and fair distribution of resources. Difficult decisions must be made about how, where, when, and to whom resources should be allocated. Physicians and health care workers are bound by a duty of care, therefore, obligations to the patient’s well-being are generally considered to be primary. This is grounded in the principle of beneficence, among others. There is also a reciprocal obligation placed on health systems to provide the best possible infection control modalities at the disposal of healthcare workers, to provide them preferential access to care should they become ill, and to consider the well-being of the families as critical to supporting healthcare workers.

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