Page 21 - RU RWJ Medicine Magazine • Winter 2021
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By Leonard Y. Lee, MD ’92 Portrait By John Emerson
Leonard Y. Lee, MD ’92, Says COVID-19 Has Forced Us All to Learn a Few New Lessons
Never in history has a single event resulted in such a drastic change in health care. The coronavirus pandemic
will undoubtedly be credited with that feat.
The delivery of advanced health care is often complex, all too often inefficient and unnecessarily complicated, dictated by insurance companies or limitations placed by state and federal governments. What we have learned from this unparalleled disaster is that we are far more nimble, adaptable, and accommodating than those entities that determine how we should be practicing medicine.
Our hospital, physician, nursing, and care providers have seen a paradigm shift in a matter of days, literally. Starting in March 2020, elective procedures had all but been canceled, while non-clinical areas were transformed into the most advanced critical care units caring for the sickest. There became a much greater sense of collaboration across specialties that historically have been independent of each other.
Lack of ventilators, personal protective equipment (PPE), sophisticated monitors,
drugs, and space to keep patients alive have been a hindrance, but technology has been a facilitator in this fight against the new coronavirus. Virtual patient visits via telehealth modalities have taken the place of in-office appointments to limit staff and patient exposures. Multiple, daily conference calls and virtual consultations are used to reduce time and to have more time to implement treatment.
In essence, we have become the best virtual versions of ourselves.
No one could have imagined the magnitude of illness and death in such a short time by an unseen enemy. The virus seems to know no limits and seemingly doesn’t discriminate.
Leonard Y. Lee, MD ’92, is the
James W. Mackenzie, MD, Professor and endowed chair of the Department of Surgery at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and
an alumnus.
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