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EANS President's Message on Corona Virus - Feedback

Friday 20 March 2020   (12 Comments)
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Dear Friends & Colleagues,


The fact that most of us had to stop a big part of our regular and elective surgical activities liberates a lot of time to do other stuff. Things we like (i.e. coffee with colleagues at previously unimaginable times between 8-12 am, and at previously unknown places in the intestines of our hospitals), and others, which we don’t like that much (endless meetings with hospital administration and public health experts, finishing of procrastinated paper-work etc.). Yet, the overall atmosphere is rather ghostly. There may be less pollution in the air and in the rivers (as in crystal-clear Venice channels), but these images don’t create a feeling of happiness though.


Today I would like to propose something to you:


Many of us senior neurosurgeons are involved in multiple WhatsApp groups with our neurosurgical friends. The younger generation is more deliberately using social media channels.


In any case, most of these circles are limited. But, being part of some of these WhatsApp groups I have the impression that the cumulative information may provide a somewhat bigger picture on what is happening. Not only about the bloody virus. But also about the impact all that has on our professional lives, on our hospitals, and on our work and how we are coping with it.


I am suggesting that all of you, who are interested and who are already (pro)actively diffusing information and comments about i.e. their particular regional situation, may do so via a common pipeline of information, funneled through our EANS website and social media. That would function as some sort of European neurosurgical news-ticker, allowing all of us to follow the evolution of what’s going on a lot better - from Tromsø to Sicily, and from Iceland, the Azores and the Canary islands to South-Eastern Europe and Eurasia and elsewhere. It will be possible to upload scientific information as well. Of course, all other neurosurgeons are equally welcome to connect. The EANS team would find that fascinating, and we will provide every possible support for you to upload your comments and data and links.


You may find the instructions in that regard just below this message.


Some time later, maybe on the occasion of one of our annual congresses, we could provide a thorough analysis of all these multiple parallel events, which are taking place currently, and which may change the way as to how to cope with similar situations in the future. And celebrate to having coped with that mess from our perspective. That may be decided upon at a later stage, of course. But that is an option only of course, in my opinion.


Our holo-European vision of unlimited neurosurgery shall not be impacted by the fact that the Schengen borders were tightened up. Our thoughts are with those colleagues, who are absorbing the biggest burden at any moment. The situation seems to be particularly tense in (Northern) Italy still, in Ticino and in Spain. Keep going – as always!




Karl Schaller






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Ramona Guatta says...
Posted Saturday 28 March 2020
For the first time in my life I hear birds’ chirping without car’s and people’s noise in Lugano. In this new and unexpected kind of life, we have to change our habits and our way to work. The COVID-19 situation in Ticino is difficult and dramatic. Many efforts have been put to increase ICU capacity in several hospitals. Only two hospitals are designated to accept COVID-19 patients, the remaining ones are kept COVID-free at the moment. To overcome this period more easily, I think we have to stay united with each other (with social distancing of course) and follow the rules, this is the only way to fight. Please, tell everybody to stay at home. A warm greeting from Ticino Ramona
Antonio A. Barbieri says...
Posted Saturday 28 March 2020
About my experience, in my hospital we all are the forefront of the battlefield. I have been on duty in the new Covid division. It's pretty hard, especially from a psychological standpoint: when they feel ill, elder people are being picked up from their houses by ambulances and brought in E.R. with no relatives. They feel suddenly alone, no one is allowed to come in hospital and visit them, for public health reasons, so often they die in a bed of sadness and loneliness... and this may sound cruel. So you have to try hard not to get moved and involved, and do your job at the best. And sometimes you don't even need to have had a solid internal medicine knowledge, but rather a big heart. So, I wish you all a good job with your patients everyday, and mind that protecting yourself when in hospital will take care of your families when you back at home as well. Dr. Antonio Barbieri, MD Neurosurg. Dept. ASST Santi Paolo e Carlo, MILANO.
Antonio A. Barbieri says...
Posted Saturday 28 March 2020
Dear colleagues and friends, I’m working in a mid-sized public hospital in Milano, quickly converted now for taking care of COVID infections, since three weeks. My Neurosurgery Dept. has been, in practice, fully closed. Nowadays in Lombardy all Neurosurgical emergencies are very few, to tell you the truth, maybe just because quarantine at home has dramatically lowered road accidents and traumas. All Neurological emergencies are now diverted by ambulances right from territory straight to the only two or three main neurosurgical centers, in Milano, Brescia and Varese. To date, in Lombardy new Covid cases are still increasing unfortunately, but it seems that they are slightly slowing down, so it might be that we're not too far from getting a steady state: so, yes, it could be a ray of light. But we will see.
Ulf Christoph Schneider says...
Posted Wednesday 25 March 2020
Current status at the Charité in Berlin is (still) calm. At the largest campus of our institution we actually have 13 patients in the ICU, 8 of which are intubated. Keeping more ICU capacity free for cases to come. Anaesthesia is rapidly ramping up additional capacity in a seperate building for another 168 ICU beds. Personel is currently transferred from every department and trained to prepare for the worst. Nevertheless, we are fighting to also treat neurosurgical urgent cases.
David O. Pereira Carpio says...
Posted Sunday 22 March 2020
Portugal update: Cases 1600 Deaths 14 Stay safe, stay home!!!!
David O. Pereira Carpio says...
Posted Saturday 21 March 2020
Now we have 4 cases in Azores, specifically at Faial, São Jorge and Terceira islands. São Miguel is still without no cases!! Stay at home!!!
Cesare Zoia says...
Posted Friday 20 March 2020
In Italy, expecially in Lombardy, where I work and live, the situation is dramatic... day by day the numbers are growing... ICU are full and every one try to help ( a lot of neurosurgeons and residents are working now in other departments facing directly Covid19 patients) but it is not enough... Italy is just 8-10 day ahead of others countries, do not underestimate this disease! Tell everybody to stay at home!
Nicolas Sampron says...
Posted Friday 20 March 2020
Great initiative, indeed you are right, we are in touch with a considerable number of EANS family member through Whatsapp, Twitter, and Facebook. We are also in touch with colleagues from Latin America and the rest of the World through WFNS. Here in North Spain the number of COVID cases is rising, but the system still not overloaded. Regarding the number of cases, it is important to take into account that the official protocol (From Ministry of Health), stands that ONLY PATIENT CONSIDERED FOR ADMISSION (SEVERE SYMPTOMS OF HIGH RISK) ARE BEEN TESTED. So the actual number of both symptomatic and asymptomatic is higher than the reported. We are looking forward to reap the fruits of strict social distancing measures!!!
Marianne Juhler says...
Posted Friday 20 March 2020
Thank you to the EANS president for this important notice to all of us. There is a world also after COVID - and we can use this unintended and unwanted chage from normal procedures and activities to improve it. Marianna Juhler, Denmark
David O. Pereira Carpio says...
Posted Friday 20 March 2020
Regarding the Covid-19 I do applause this fantastic opportunity to act as a family member of the EANS In sharing some information from my place. Azores Islands is a paradisiac Portuguese archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean formed by 9 islands. The bigger one is called São Miguel ( Saint Michael) which capital city, Ponta Delgada, has the main reference Hospital named Hospital do Espírito Santo ( Holy Ghost Hospital). Currently we have 3 diagnosed cases, all of them at the hospital of Terceira island where is located the second important hospital of the Archipelago. All elective surgeries and clinics have been canceled as the OR area has been prepared as an accessory UCI for eventual cases, having only two room avaliables for urgent surgeries. BTW, I do invite you to visit us after overcoming this crisis and to enjoy our 365-days-a-year green landscapes and whales sights turism!! Stay safe. David Pereira Carpio, Spine neurosurgeon Neurosurgical oncology.
Santiago Garfias says...
Posted Friday 20 March 2020
In Spain the situation is getting worse. Now Madrid is getting overload with severe ill patients. We must be conscious that many surgical patients can wait for a better time to be operated, but many others can not wait for sure. Now many patients do not need an specialist but a general practitioner and we can give suport even using the social media.
Nicolas Foroglou says...
Posted Friday 20 March 2020
enlarging the European Neurosurgical Family and communication. Excellent initiative. In Greece, as in other places, only emergency cases are performed and probably on Monday we will have a global restriction of circulation. Be patient and rest calm. Lets find new ways to diffuse our energy.