American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Surgeon Voices in the COVID-19 Era

From the Frontlines

In this issue, American College of Surgeons (ACS) Regent Steven D. Wexner, MD, PhD (Hon), FACS, FRCS (Eng), FRCS (Ed), FRCSI (Hon), Hon FRCS (Glasg), Director, Digestive Disease Center at Cleveland Clinic Florida in Weston, interviews Sameer Siddiqui, MD, FACS, Associate Professor of Surgery, Division Chief of Urology, Interim Chair, Department of Surgery, St. Louis University, MO, discussing his work in creating the surgical case triage guidelines for COVID-19. These guidelines were first featured on the ACS website on March 17, after which they rapidly became widely adopted.

Dr. Wexner also converses with Aneel Bhangu, MBChB, FRCS, PhD, Senior Lecturer and Clinician Scientist in Global Surgery and Honorary Consultant Colorectal and General Surgeon, University Hospital Birmingham, UK, one of the creators of the global COVID-19 surgery registry study. Dr. Bhangu presents some of the critically important findings on the first 500 patients with COVID-19 who underwent surgery, mostly in the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, and the U.S.

COVID-19 and the Impact on Surgery in Rural Areas

Rural communities face unique challenges as COVID-19 spreads throughout the U.S., and the surgeons who provide care in these areas must do so with fewer resources and limited outside help. In this issue, two Fellows of the American College of Surgeons (ACS), Michael Sarap, MD, FACS, and Julie Conyers, MD, MBA, FACS, share their experiences as rural surgeons during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Sarap is based in Cambridge, OH, a city of slightly more than 10,000 people in the southeastern portion of the state. In his video interview, Dr. Sarap sums up his experience with COVID-19 in two words: “preparation” and “anticipation.”

In Dr. Conyers’ video interview, she discusses her unique circumstances in Ketchikan, AK, which is within an archipelago of more than 1,100 islands and has no connecting roads. A difficulty for Ketchikan has been testing for COVID-19 in a timely manner; specimens are shipped to Fairbanks before it can be confirmed whether a patient has COVID-19.

Finally, in this Q&A, Crystal Cunningham, MD, FACS, Navajo Nation, Chinle, AZ, outlines the struggles specific to her community and the importance of leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full Q&A

Personal Reflections

Coping with Financial Distress

Cynthia Talley, MD, FACS, Vice-Chair of Education and Associate Professor, Division of General Surgery/Trauma Acute Care, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, and member of the American College of Surgeons Young Fellows Association, outlines the struggle to maintain financial security. Read more here.

Return Home

In our continuing series, we include additional reflections from Anthony J. Vine, MD, FACS, Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, NY, and Member, Board of Governors, American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Vine has written about his last two times on the job in New York City. He has now been allowed to return to “normal” and will be given time to rest. Following are excerpts from his writings. Click here to read his submission. We will run the “Return to Normal” submission in our next issue.