Safety Recommendations and Medical Liability in Ocular Surgery During the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Unsolved Dilemma
Journal – journal of clinical medicine
Publication date – May – 2020
Authors – Pietro Emanuele Napoli , Matteo Nioi , Ernesto d’Aloja , Maurizio Fossarello
Keywords – COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus; eye; eye surgery; guidelines; medical liability; ocular surgery; recommendations.
Open access – Yes
Speciality – Ophthalmology
World region Global
Language – English
Submitted to the One Surgery Index on June 5, 2020 at 11:01 am
Ocular surgery is one of the most performed medical procedures in the world. Its limitation or suspension, recursively extended over time, could be associated with a significant increase in the number of blind people worldwide. Indeed, cataract causes more than half of all cases of visual impairment in those countries with limited availability of means for performing eye operations (e.g., Africa or India). In this scenario, the pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) quickly resulted in the suspension or sharp reduction of various ophthalmic activities considered non-urgent, including lens replacement surgery or some intraocular injections. Despite the imperative need to continuously practice eye operations to avoid the abovementioned problems, there are currently little-shared and vague recommendations among the various countries on safety in operating rooms (for health care workers and patients) and poor legal protection for surgeons (potentially transmitting the COVID-19 infectious agent). Herein, we individuated and discussed some critical points in safety recommendations and medical liability. A paradigm shift for ocular surgery during the COVID-19 era is now mandatory. While telemedicine has been able to solve some problems in clinical ophthalmology, the lack of adequate health and legal protection for surgeons and patients may result in an excessive reduction in the volume of surgical interventions during a pandemic era and the immediately following period, thus determining inability to ensure health care to all patients.
OSI Number – 20508
PMID – 32397530