COVID-19 and anesthesia: 4 things to know

Four things for anesthesiologists to know about the COVID-19 outbreak this week:

1. In a joint statement, the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation advised providers to prioritize time-critical procedures according to patient needs and facility resources; limit nonessential procedures based on the area's current and projected risk of COVID-19 spread; and consider using ambulatory settings to offset hospital demand. Read the guidelines here.

2. Amid service disruptions and uncertainty around financial aid for anesthesia and pain management groups, Anesthesia Business Consultants President and CEO Tony Mira outlined four strategies for avoiding mass layoffs. The same day, Boise (Idaho) Anesthesia Physician Associates laid off 53 employees, as CEO Nate Poulson, MD, said he expects the practice's revenue will "trickle to nothing."

3. ASA's medical journal, Anesthesiology, published firsthand accounts from anesthesiologists handling the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China. The articles cover recommendations for optimizing patient care, intubation and ventilation best practices, establishing a temporary hospital, and more. Click here for an overview.

4. In a letter, Nebraska Medicine critical care anesthesiologist Dan Johnson, MD, urged family members to take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously. Otherwise, he said, "more people, including some of our friends and family, will die. … All healthcare workers will have to witness the needless deaths of patients who could have survived." Read the full letter on Norfolk Daily News.

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