“Doctor, You’re COVID (+)”: Twenty Next Steps for Plastic Surgeons : Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery – Global Open

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“Doctor, You’re COVID (+)”: Twenty Next Steps for Plastic Surgeons

Bentz, Michael L. MD, FAAP, FACS

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Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery - Global Open 8(5):p e2891, May 2020. | DOI: 10.1097/GOX.0000000000002891
  • Open
  • United States

Hearing that I was Covid (+) from employee health was not what I expected (nor wished), but why not me?: urban university practice location, frontline of clinical care, and exposed to a wide swath of Midwesterners. What do you do next? After you go through the intellectual denial exercises of ruling out a false-positive test, confirming they called the correct person and ultimately acknowledging that you are not in fact invincible, it gets real. You start watching the news differently, hearing what Dr. Anthony Fauci says in a different light, and you insert yourself into the endless streams of statistics on television and in social media.

Your next 20 steps are as follows:

  1. Call your primary care provider, optimize comorbidities, and review symptoms and current treatment options.
  2. Put on a mask for your family’s home protection and possibly even your pet’s protection.
  3. Take anything home from your office that you will need for the 2-week minimum isolation.
  4. Grab cash from the automated teller machine on your way home, wearing gloves and a mask while doing so.
  5. Purchase cleaning products, gloves, and wipes for daily home surface sterilization.
  6. When home, leave your work clothes in plastic bags in the garage for 2 days before washing.
  7. Establish isolation areas in your home, including a separate bedroom and bathroom if possible.
  8. Review your significant contacts <6 feet for >10 minutes. You will be asked.
  9. If you take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, consider stopping them until the data about their use in COVID are clearer.
  10. Meticulously and continuously social distance at home while wearing a mask.
  11. Wipe down every light switch, handle, electronic device, and hard surface you touch, every time.
  12. Monitor your pulmonary and gastrointestinal symptoms twice daily, including taking your temperature.
  13. Organize your cross coverage at work.
  14. Ask your Information Technology support to help you establish telemedicine capability for your home.
  15. Print clinic and operating room patient lists and call patients (or delegate someone) to adjust appointments.
  16. Collect your financial accounts information in one area and share them with your family.
  17. Know where your will, estate, and power of attorney documents are and tell your family.
  18. Sleep, eat, hydrate, and wash your hands all the time.
  19. Exercise conservatively as tolerated, but listen to your body. Dyspnea is a concerning symptom.
  20. Use American Society of Plastic Surgeons and other society resources to weather this storm. The statistics say that you will.

Be thoughtful, safe, and at least transiently move out of our usual surgeon denial mode.


The author has no financial interest to declare in relation to the content of this article.

Copyright © 2020 The Authors. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons.