Now that hospitals are resuming elective surgery, what should surgeons tell patients about the perioperative risks of COVID-19?
Many surgeons are now resuming elective work, yet some make no mention of the additional covid-related risks. Although the British Association of Spine Surgeons and some private hospitals have produced information sheets for patients undergoing surgery during the pandemic, to our knowledge no formal guidance has been issued by the General Medical Council or the Royal College of Surgeons on obtaining consent in such circumstances. The surgical community remains unclear as to what to tell patients about to undergo elective surgery.
In this BMJ Opinion article, Daniel Sokol and Rupen Dattani argue that patients who undergo elective surgery should be told that, despite measures to limit the risk of infection, there remains a risk of contracting covid-19 in hospital, whether before, during or after the operation.