PRESIDENT'S CORNER

Dear Reader

Another standard Covid-19  story? Certainly not!

Everybody is jumping on the bandwagon of the pandemic, to flatten the curve etc. But I want you to think about it!

We, in South Africa, have not experienced the pandemic as the rest of the world did. To me there are only one of two reasons for this. Either we have partially immunity (which will be wonderful). Or the disaster will strike us later. If the latter is true, which is a believe of mine, the current lockdown is merely an attempt to enable us to prepare for the storm. But, are we preparing?

I have great respect for Pres Ramaphosa, I admire him and it certainly was a very hard decision to lock down the country, to impose it and in that to halt the economy also taking away the freedom of movement of the people.

The notion is that emergency surgery should be done; it is essential. The criteria for this are: loss of life or loss of limb. This is a no-brainer.

The opinion is that fracture surgery is an emergency. My question to you: is that really true? Does it fulfil the criteria of emergency? An example; a displaced fracture of a radius will hopefully not lead to loss of life or loss of limb. A malunited fracture of the radius can lead to dysfunction and maybe pain. Maybe loss of normal function of the limb, but not the loss of the limb.  But is that different to for example osteoarthrosis of the knee? Gonarthrosis is painful and there might be dysfunction.

I think your decision should not be based on the mentioned criteria alone,  but rather on the following:

  • Is it in the best interest of the patient, you and the community in large?
  • Are you contravening the explicit ruling by our President and government? Is this truly essential?
  • Are you not exposing yourself, staff and patients unnecessarily to the virus? And in that enhancing the spread of the virus in multiple communities?

I think the latin phrase: “Primum non nocere” should be your motto. First, do no harm. No harm to your patients, no harm to yourself, no harm to the communities and no harm to the call of the President. It is your decision. Choose wisely.

This is my personal opinion.

Stay safe.

JN DE VOS

President SAAS