A zoom session on COVID -19 and palliative care was organized by Pallium India INC and IOWA University on 25th March 2020. Here is a brief report prepared by Dr. Lulu Mathews (Program Director, Academics, IPM, Kozhikode and Mr. I. Terrymize, Research Associate, IPM).
Dr. M R Rajagopal, a global leader in palliative care and founder of Pallium India, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India started the session discussing the aspects of palliative care during a pandemic. In his talk Dr. Rajagopal emphasised the importance of having an ethical board in every hospital to make decision on assigning ICU beds, ventilators and resuscitation when this pandemic takes hold and cases increase. He says, this will spare the
intensivists the added burden of making decision and enable them to care for their patients without further distraction.
He started the presentation by explaining the effect of the pandemic and the unprecedented nationwide lockdown on vulnerable populations such as pregnant women, elderly population, and those who are under palliative care. Dr. Rajagopal stressed the importance of running a 24 hours helpline to coordinate relief measures to these vulnerable groups as providing regular palliative care service has become difficult. He then went on to explain the aspects of symptom management in COVID-19 with a palliative perspective for doctors and nurses who are not formally trained in palliative care.
This session was followed by the presentation of Dr. Stanley Pearlman, a world-renowned expert on Coronavirus, from IOWA university on “COVID-19: What we know and not know.” Starting with a brief history of SARS Cov-2, he explained the infectivity, incubation period, pathogenicity and currently available treatment options.
Dr. Pearlman revealed that the virus is present in the blood and body fluids including stool and urine of infected patients but the clinical significance of the virus being present in stool and urine is not known. He emphasized the importance of routine environmental cleaning and disinfection as an appropriate measure in preventing the transmission of the virus. He explained that Remdesvir (antiviral) and Hydroxychloroquine (antimalarial) are used in treating COVID-19 but they should be started early to alter the course of illness.
There was a Q & A session following two presentations in which the attendees participated actively. The meeting ended with the note to stay safe and WASH HANDS.
Though the session, at the beginning was interrupted by hackers the confusion was managed well by the organizers