FACING COVID-19 OUTBREAK IN UROLOGY DEPARTMENT
The world has changed in a very short span of just 6 months. All branches of medical practice including urology have been immensely affected by Covid-19. We have been forced to re-think, re-organize, re-group and re-prioritize our definitions, actions and outcomes. The degrees of urgency to intervene have been redefined. There has been a massive reorganization of teams, re-structuring of rotation plans, re-scheduling of outdoor and indoor appointments and re-allocation of roles all over the world. Finding a perfect new normal may not be possible especially with the practice of social distancing and fear to contract the virus.
A modified plan has to be in place which can define the new norm in urological practice. The most important aspect would be implementing telemedicine. This could be extremely challenging and at the same time dangerous in countries like Pakistan. We have to rationalize our outpatient appointments, preoperative work-up and indications to operate with least burden on our diagnostic services. Post-operative surgical practices need modifications with less follow-up visits in person. Operations need to be performed by senior surgeons to reduce the operating time, rate of complications and exposure. Role of Interventional radiologists cannot be overstated, more nephrostomies and ante-grade procedures can lessen the burden on operating rooms and wards.
Training of urology residents have suffered in current scenario which requires redefining of their curriculum. Judicious use of personal protective equipment by healthcare providers and number of patients in crowded clinics has to be rethought about.