In Practice

Reintroduction of elective paediatric otolaryngology procedures in South Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic

J K McGuire, J J Fagan, S Peer

Abstract


Cancelling elective clinical consultations and surgical procedures was instrumental in assisting hospitals prepare for the COVID-19 crisis. Essential bed space was made available, and it allowed mobilisation of health workers and enforced social distancing. A shift in patient-centred ethics to public health ethics was required to provide a utilitarian approach to the crisis. However, at some point, clinicians need to start becoming patient centred again, and this needs to happen within the utilitarian framework. Children only account for 1 - 5% of confirmed COVID-19 cases, and they present with a much milder disease spectrum than adults. Consequently, paediatric units may be at the forefront of implementing reintroduction of patient-centred elective clinical and surgical procedures. The following recommendations provide a framework to do this in a way that minimises risk to patients and clinicians. They are the first paediatric guidelines in the literature to propose a strategy to reintroduce elective surgical procedures.


Authors' affiliations

J K McGuire, Division of Otolaryngology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Division of Otolaryngology, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

J J Fagan, Division of Otolaryngology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

S Peer, Division of Otolaryngology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Division of Otolaryngology, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

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Keywords

COVID-19; Coronavirus; Pandemic; Paediatrics; Guidelines; Elective surgery; Otorhinolaryngology

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2020;110(7):601-604. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2020.v110i7.14859

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-06-02
Date published: 2020-06-02

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