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Anesthesiologists Shift Practice From OR to ICU During Pandemic

Given drop in elective and nonemergency procedures, two-thirds of practices shifted to critical care

MONDAY, June 8, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- During the current new coronavirus pandemic, a large number of physician anesthesiologists pivoted from working in the operating room to treating COVID-19 patients in intensive care units, according to the results of an informal survey released by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA).

The survey captured information on financial issues, staffing concerns, and economic relief options from practices representing more than 4,000 physician anesthesiologists.

The survey revealed that more than 90 percent of respondents said their case volume has decreased by >50 percent since the declaration of the national emergency. Given the influx of COVID-19 patients during the pandemic, more than 65 percent of practice respondents added or were asked to add critical care functionality to their practices. The skills and expertise offered by physician anesthesiologists have been crucial in the care of COVID-19 patients throughout this health care crisis, the ASA noted.

"This survey shows the amazing commitment our members have had in treating COVID-19 patients, even while putting themselves and their families at risk of the virus," Mary Dale Peterson, M.D., president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, said in a statement. "The stories I have been hearing are truly amazing -- members leaving their homes to travel to the hard-hit areas of the United States. At the same time, ASA is committed to helping our members seek out and advocate for economic relief options to help keep their practices afloat."

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