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

From the Directors Desk: On Recovery

Heidi Nelson, MD, FACSHeidi Nelson, MD, FACS
Medical Director, ACS Cancer Programs

As our nation considers state-by-state recovery plans, so must we consider how we will adapt and create a new and safe existence that covers all of our many human needs. Within health care, and specifically within cancer surgery care, we have shared our collective thinking on how to safely resume the practice of surgery in a manner that balances the risks of nosocomial COVID-19 infection against the risks of harm from delaying cancer care. These guidelines were featured in the April 17 issue of the Bulletin: ACS COVID-19 Updates. Hospitals and providers will likely remain busy for a while managing the continued needs of COVID-19 patients, the backlog of cancer patients whose treatments were delayed due to COVID-19, and the new patients who need life-saving operations and medical care. 

Given how much our lives and our needs extend beyond our jobs, we also must imagine a time when we can resume activities that fuel our souls and strengthen our sense of community, such as meeting with national colleagues and friends. In uncharted water, we will have to be cautious, deliberate, and agile until the virus is truly contained. We are fortunate that modern communications technologies, global sharing of data and information, and contemporary modeling advantage us like no other time in history. Such tools are helping us refine our knowledge of the virus, how it behaves, where it is, and how we can curtail the casualties. While we cannot wait to reunite with all of you in person, we know the distancing measures we are taking now will ensure that this chapter ends well and that soon enough we will share a collective victory as we defeat this formidable foe and are better for it.