How the Covid-19 pandemic affected shoulder and elbow practice in Turkey?

JSES Int. 2020 Dec;4(4):705-708.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jseint.2020.08.020. Epub 2020 Oct 13.


Background: The Covid-19 pandemic drastically affected the health care delivery worldwide. Elective surgical interventions were cancelled or postponed to avoid disease transmission and excessive consumption of critical hospital resources. The main objective for composing this survey was to document the preventive attitude and its variations against the Covid-19 pandemic in a specific group: shoulder and elbow surgeons. The secondary objective was to evaluate their perception of emergency and to envisage the "new normal" with the altered order of priority in the upcoming post-coronavirus era.

Methods: An anonymous survey composed of 25 questions was sent to all the members of the Turkish Society of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery in April 22-29, 2020, while governmental preventive measures were maximal. A secure web-based application (SurveyMonkey Inc., San Mateo, CA, USA) was used for the composition of the survey and the analysis of the responses.

Results: Eighty-eight responses were collected from 129 members of the Turkish Society of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery (68%), with a mean 13.9 years of practice in shoulder and elbow surgery. A more than 75% decrease in surgical and outpatient clinical activity was documented. Half of respondents used telemedicine, and the rate of obtaining informed consent remained low. The preventive attitude showed significant variation.

Discussion: The perception of emergency and the protective measures showed a wide discrepancy among our respondents. Almost 80% of our respondents indicated the necessity of task forces for composing protocols to maintain subspecialty practice under adequate protective measures, and the subspecialty societies as the most eligible institutions to compose these criteria.

Keywords: Covid-19; emergency; pandemic; personal protective equipment; shoulder and elbow surgery; survey.