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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574


MCGUIRE, J K; FAGAN, J J  and  PEER, S. Reintroduction of elective paediatric otolaryngology procedures in South Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2020, vol.110, n.7, pp.1-4. ISSN 2078-5135.

Cancelling elective clinical consultations and surgical procedures was instrumental in assisting hospitals prepare for the COVID-19 crisis. Essential bed space was made available, and it allowed mobilisation of health workers and enforced social distancing. A shift in patient-centred ethics to public health ethics was required to provide a utilitarian approach to the crisis. However, at some point, clinicians need to start becoming patient centred again, and this needs to happen within the utilitarian framework. Children only account for 1 - 5% of confirmed COVID-19 cases, and they present with a much milder disease spectrum than adults. Consequently, paediatric units may be at the forefront of implementing reintroduction of patient-centred elective clinical and surgical procedures. The following recommendations provide a framework to do this in a way that minimises risk to patients and clinicians. They are the first paediatric guidelines in the literature to propose a strategy to reintroduce elective surgical procedures.

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