Defining the New Normal for Surgical Safety
Safety has always been one of the most important aspects of surgical and cosmetic medicine care, but with spread of COVID-19, the need for additional measures and safeguards is essential. Dr. Robert Singer, whose private practice is in La Jolla, is a world-renowned aesthetic plastic surgeon, expert on surgical safety, co-author of the book on safety for ambulatory surgery and plastic surgery, and the leading plastic surgeon in safety education in Southern California. He has been at the forefront of these changes.
As soon as the impacts of this COVID-19 virus began to be seen, Dr. Singer was asked to be part of several initiatives to help implement new safety measures and has been helping educate surgeons around the world. Dr. Singer is part of The Aesthetic Society COVID-19 Task Force to help establish safety guidelines for plastic surgeons in the U.S and internationally. The task force has been spending countless hours in virtual meetings and is leading the way in pushing safeguards forward for patient safety during and after the pandemic. Dr. Singer has led several webinars for surgeons, the first of which had more than 1,600 attendees and lasted over two hours with the purpose of educating healthcare providers, nurses and surgeons from all over the world. He is also on the Safety Task Force for the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery; their first webinar had over 3,500 viewers. Additionally, Dr. Singer has been providing guidance to the California Society of Plastic Surgeons.
The medical community is fully invested in taking all necessary actions to protect the public. Working with these task forces, Dr. Singer has helped guide individuals from the CDC, American College of Surgeons, AAAASF, heads of anesthesiology and nurse anesthetists, as well as other core specialties in cosmetic medicine to ensure there is a unified approach to safety that will be the new normal.
Dr. Singer does not take his responsibility lightly and neither should other professionals. There has been a moratorium on non-essential elective procedures, which is why his La Jolla practice and other ethical practitioners across the nation have closed or limited services to protect patients. Once they fully reopen, Dr. Singer’s office has protocols in place for how they will assist patients and assure their safety whether it is for surgery, Botox, fillers or other cosmetic treatments. When you go into any medical office, you should see notable changes including social distancing at the reception area, topical disinfectants, protective masks and gowns, and constant cleaning between patients – if not, you should not be receiving treatment there.
New protocols are being put in place being before even seeing patients, including virtual consults and postponing treatments for those experiencing symptoms. When you do eventually undergo a procedure, Dr. Singer advises that you should follow sensible guidelines, “it is still a time for social distancing, limiting exposure, using soap and water whenever you touch things, getting tested, and self-isolating before treatment”. If you are at a greater risk of COVID-19, hold off on undergoing procedures if possible and avoid treatments that require a hospital stay – doctors who really care about your well-being will encourage these measures. Since these guidelines are dynamically changing based on conditions and new data, it is important to stay up-to-date. As Dr. Singer says, “safety is not something that goes out of style.”