I think until there’s adequate diagnostic testing, serology demonstrating immunity, herd immunity, and a reliable, readily available vaccination, there will still be hesitation amongst patients and otolaryngologists alike when diagnosing and treating conditions where viral load transmission and potential for a realization of particles exists. —Gavin Setzen, MD
Explore This IssueJune 2020
Beyond government assistance, Will Harrill, MD, also of Carolina Ear Nose & Throat Sinus & Allergy Center, said his practice has been able to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic with support from organizations including the AAO-HNS, the North Carolina Society of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, and the practice’s own malpractice carrier. The initial speed of the pandemic’s impact on otolaryngology as a specialty, he said, was so rapid that grassroots communication, including teleconferences and email chains both statewide and across the U.S., were very helpful in terms of filling best practice voids that would ordinarily have a formal review process before being disseminated.
He added that financial hardship may be most pronounced in the private practice world, given the equity ownership risk and responsibility that add an extra layer of anxiety onto the desire for answers to questions that have never been asked before.
“Many of us remember being in Denver at the annual AAO-HNS meeting on 9/11 and scrambling into cars with colleagues we had never met or not seen for years as we all carpooled home over the following 24 hours,” he said. “COVID-19 has been sort of the same, with many of us taking a virtual journey together through this.”
Renée Bacher is a freelance medical writer based in Louisiana.