Clinical Endoscopy, Author Interview

Sharing Our Experience of Operating an Endoscopy Unit in the Midst of a COVID-19 Outbreak - Vol.53 No.2

Jimin Han
Daegu Catholic University Medical Center
Department of Internal Medicine, Daegu Catholic University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea
Welcome to the first Clinical Endoscopy Author Interview. Your article, “Sharing Our Experience of Operating an Endoscopy Unit in the Midst of a COVID-19 Outbreak”, has been published as Brief Report in March issue.
Q1. As you have mentioned in the article, Daegu, the city you reside in, has been hit hardest with COVID-19. What is the current situation in Daegu?

As of April 9, 2020, a total of 10,423 Koreans was tested positive for the virus. Of these, 6,807 (65.3%) were from Daegu. Therefore, incidence rate in Daegu was 279.37 per 100,000. Since its peak on February 29, number of new cases has decreased from 741 to 4 on April 9.

Q2. You must have been under a lot of pressure and stress during this outbreak with many new patients and an endoscopic unit nurse diagnosed with COVID-19. How did you deal with all these?

Indeed, I had been afraid that I can come into close contact with a COVID-19 patient unknowingly and could be infected. Also, I had been really concerned that I can transmit the virus to my co-workers, friends, and family. What I have done was very strict adherence to hygiene which included frequent handwashing, wearing a facial mask, disinfecting the places I come into contact with, and changing clothing and shoes before going home. And I would eat, or drink separate from others, mostly in my office. Even when I get home, I would not dare hug my family before handwashing and changing outfit.
At the hospital, my coworkers and I have done utmost to protect the patients and ourselves from COVID-19. The recent brief report is the outcome of our combined efforts and we wanted to share the experience and help others.

Q3. What is the take-home message of this brief report?

The best policy for everyone during the pandemic is strict adherence to good old basic principles of personal hygiene, proper use of personal protection equipment, and meticulous reprocessing and disinfection.

Q4. What are the difficulties in doing endoscopic procedures while wearing personal protection equipment?

It takes longer to prepare for the procedure, and it is hot and sweaty inside personal protection equipment. Also, it takes a lot longer to do the procedure.

Q5. What would you like to emphasize and share with others additionally?

What is more important than donning personal protection equipment is taking it off properly. You must be very meticulous while taking it off; you might contaminate the surroundings and yourself. And the recent issue in the endoscopic unit is possibility of virus transmission with use of a lidocaine spray for pharyngeal numbing. To prevent virus transmission, single use spray catheter is strongly recommended.

Editorial Board of Clinical Endoscopy truly appreciates Dr. Han’s contribution and will deliver timely articles to inform doctors and other healthcare personnel who are involved in endoscopic procedures.