COVID-19 pandemic effects on orthopaedic surgeons in British Columbia.

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COVID-19 was declared a global emergency in the first quarter of 2020. It is has resulted in and continues in over a million deaths worldwide and halted medical systems and particularly elective surgeries worldwide. The aim of this study was to identify the effect of the initial COVID-19 pandemic months on orthopaedic surgeons in British Columbia.The study surveyed (June until August 2020) 187 orthopaedic surgeons in British Columbia affiliated with the University of British Columbia or the British Columbia Orthopaedic Association using an online survey to help identify the impact of COVID-19 on patient care, work and personal life.Eighty-seven out of 187 (46.5%) orthopaedic surgeons participated in the online survey. All types of surgeries were completely cancelled for 23 respondents. Elective surgeries were cancelled for most respondents (in-hospital n = 38 and/or ambulatory n = 32). Trauma cases were reduced according to 35 respondents. Outpatient clinics were stopped initially and transferred in virtual clinics (telemedicine). Approximately 40% of respondents were afraid of infecting others (patients, family) and 25% admitted to drink more heavily. Ninety percent of respondents reported an income loss of > 15% (range 0-100%).Orthopaedic surgeons and their patients have been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cancellation of surgeries has created an increased backlog of 32,400 orthopaedic surgeries in British Columbia. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has expedited the implementation of telemedicine, which will be a long-lasting benefit in providing healthcare.

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Authors: Maciej J K Simon, William D Regan