AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 29, Number 2, 2020


COVID-19 and the World of Neurosurgery

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Unprecedented. These are indeed crazy times – unlike anything I (or I suspect most of you) have lived through.  As individuals, we are all impacted by travel restrictions, school closings, shuttered restaurants and empty grocery shelves. These all have far reaching consequences for neurosurgeons, our staff and support systems and are constantly changing. Remaining healthy, active, mentally well and supported is increasingly difficult. So much about our lives has been turned upside down. Rumors and scams abound, and then there is the onslaught of news:

  • Who tested positive today;
  • Numbers of infections and deaths across the globe;
  • State, federal and international restrictions;
  • Emergency legislation; and
  • The plummeting stock market.

It is beyond disruptive – it feels a lot like chaos. On top of this is our world of neurosurgery! While we are not “on the front line” like our infectious disease colleagues, we are squarely in the crossfire for many reasons:

  • Our institutions have constantly changing rules that we have to understand and implement.
  • Most hospitals have stopped elective surgery, including most neurosurgery.
  • Emergency neurosurgery and neurotrauma continues – requiring our continued involvement in health care delivery.
  • Patients continue to need our support in the outpatient clinical setting.

No aspect of healthcare has been left untouched or unchanged. Medical schools have cancelled classes and rotations and resident education is rapidly being adjusted across all specialties. Even the hospital cafeterias and doctors’ lounges are being shut down! Who knows when things will return to “normal”?

It was more than 70 years ago, and it took a world war, for the AANS to last cancel its annual meeting. Yet, in the face of the rising pandemic, AANS President Christopher I. Shaffrey, MD, FAANS, and his executive team, made the extremely difficult decision to do just that. Director of the Washington Office Katie Orrico, JD, as always, remains our voice and connection to the administrative and legal aspects of the latest healthcare crisis and has provided an invaluable resources for up-to-date information

The AANS Neurosurgeon will continue to use its online platform to keep you updated on breaking news all neurosurgeons need to know. Please check back often. For now, we wish all of you and your loved ones health and safety. We also thank all neurosurgeons who continue to provide essential care and rise to the role of leaders throughout this period of crisis.


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