Message from the President

Dr. LalwaniBy Kirk Lalwani
SPA President

I hope you are all staying safe and keeping well in these unprecedented times.

We are in the midst of a global healthcare crisis on a scale which none of us have experienced. Despite this being a predominantly adult disease, as providers we are all at risk, some of us more than others. As many of us isolate at home, self-protect at work and wait for our local surges to abate, please think of our colleagues who have battled the worst of it in hard hit areas of the country like New York, Seattle and other hotspots.

Even as these areas see improvement, the peak is yet to occur in other areas of the country. As our communities begin to tentatively open up, we are hopeful, yet wary of whether our efforts to restart the economy will be met with another surge and more sickness. We will no doubt learn to live with periodic clusters of outbreaks as we return to the new normal and until we have a reliable vaccine. In the meantime, we do everything we can to care for our patients, our communities, our families and loved ones, and not least of all, ourselves.

We have worked to gather information for our members and collaborate with other institutions and international pediatric societies to share and disseminate information, best practices, and publications. The SPA webpage has a COVID resource link for physicians, parents and families that is updated with the latest publications and organizational information every 48-72 hours. It includes clinical and epidemiological resources for providers, wellness, stress, ethics and self-care links, and websites for families related to online learning as well as COVID information in French and Spanish. Our international colleagues from Europe and Australia and SPA board members have been very helpful in sending me useful articles and links to include on the site. We hope you find this useful as a one-stop destination for information on all matters related to COVID.

Dr. Tom Long, who leads the Pediatric Anesthesia Leadership Council(PALC), has been instrumental in putting together a real-time survey of PALC leaders with specific questions that have evolved as our practices related to anesthesia, intubation, self-protection and wellness align as a result of national and local guidelines, information from China and Europe, and availability of PPE and ventilators. He has shared these summaries with all PALC chiefs and it offers a current snapshot of preparation and protocols of a sample of pediatric hospitals around the country that evolves rapidly.

While we were incredibly lucky to have had our Spring meeting in the Bahamas earlier than usual, planning has already started for our 2021 Spring meeting in San Diego. We are very mindful that COVID is unlikely to entirely disappear within a year, and we may see a recrudescence of the disease next Winter. We are committed to having parallel plans for our usual meeting format as well as contingency plans for online delivery of CME in the form of lectures, panels and PBLDs, should an in-person meeting not be possible. We are already working on assembling a group to address this for the Fall meeting in Washington, DC. Rest assured, we are committed to delivering high-quality CME for our membership in whatever format possible until life returns to normal, or the new normal.

Dr. John Fiadjoe has collaborated with other Pediatric Difficult Intubation Registry (PeDI) leaders to put together a paper on best practices for pediatric airway management in COVID patients. The SPA Board has reviewed and endorsed the document which has been published in Pediatric Anesthesia.

Please take care of yourselves at work with appropriate PPE, and with distancing and isolation outside the hospital. This crisis will pass, and we will emerge stronger, wiser, and more prepared. Take time to do things you have always wished you had more time for now that you have more COVID non-clinical days. While you reflect on your role in in our collective fight against the disease, spare a thought, a smile and a `Thank you’ for those tireless workers who keep our society humming by stocking shelves, enforcing the law and protecting us, and allowing grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations to stay open. They are seldom recognized for their crucial roles in maintaining a modicum of normality by keeping us well-stocked and well-fed.

Here is a link to a short paper from the Harvard Business Review about the contagion we can control.

I’ll leave you with a quote appropriate for our current crisis:

“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.”

Fred Rogers,
The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember

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