Global experience of orthopaedic trauma surgeons facing COVID-19: a survey highlighting the global orthopaedic response
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BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has significantly affected all aspects of healthcare, including orthopaedics. Due to the unique challenges presented by COVID-19 as well as the distinct timeframes that it will surge in different geographies, much can be learned from the experiences of orthopaedic professionals in many global settings. The goal of this project is to characterize the preparations, strategies, lessons, and personal experiences of orthopaedic trauma surgeons and departments across the world in combating COVID-19. In doing so, we will shed light on current practices and challenges, which may help us manage the current pandemic in addition to preparing for future global pandemics that may arise. METHODS: A 20-item questionnaire was sent out to 150 orthopaedic trauma surgeons representing 42 countries who were identified based on professional relationships and/or prior involvement in international meetings either led or participated by the senior author. RESULTS: The questionnaire was completed by 63 orthopaedic trauma surgeons representing 28 countries and 14 US states. The results of this study show that orthopaedic trauma departments across the world have been greatly impacted by COVID-19 with 91% of participating hospitals currently having a reduced case load compared with pre-COVID-19 and only 17% of respondents currently performing elective orthopaedic surgery. Furthermore, 30% of orthopaedic departments have deployed orthopaedic personnel to non-orthopaedic floors in order to help mitigate the increased patient load and 86% of respondents noted at least some shortage of PPE. Lastly 73% of participating orthopedic departments including those in LMICs, have incorporated telemedicine into their practice with a majority stating that it would most likely become a permanent change to their practice post-COVID-19. CONCLUSION: To our knowledge, this is the largest data set characterizing global COVID-19 situations and responses of orthopaedic trauma practices around the world. There is much to be learned from each of the participants' responses in order to persevere during the current pandemic, as well as to prepare for future pandemics as it relates specifically to orthopaedic trauma practices.
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