Informed consent and a risk-based approach to oncologic surgery in a cancer center during the COVID-19 pandemic

Informed consent and a risk-based approach to oncologic surgery in a cancer center during the COVID-19 pandemic
de Cássio Zequi S, Franca Silva ILA, Duprat JP, Coimbra FJF, Gross JL, Vartanian JG, Makdissi FBA, Leite FPM, Costa WHD, Yazbek G, Joaquim EHG, Bussolotti RM, Caruso P, de Ávila Lima MC, Nakagawa S, Aguiar S Jr, Baiocchi G, Lopes A, Kowalski LP
Journal of Surgical Oncology, 7 March 2021
Open Access
Abstract
Background
Cancer patients configure a risk group for complications or death by COVID-19. For many of them, postponing or replacing their surgical treatments is not recommended. During this pandemic, surgeons must discuss the risks and benefits of treatment, and patients should sign a specific comprehensive Informed consent (IC).
Objectives
To report an IC and an algorithm developed for oncologic surgery during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Methods
We developed an IC and a process flowchart containing a preoperative symptoms questionnaire and a PCR SARS-CoV-2 test and described all perioperative steps of this program.
Results
Patients with negative questionnaires and tests go to surgery, those with positive ones must wait 21 days and undergo a second test before surgery is scheduled. The IC focused both on risks and benefits inherent each surgery and on the risks of perioperative SARS-CoV-2 infections or related complications. Also, the IC discusses the possibility of sudden replacement of medical staff member(s) due to the pandemic; the possibility of unexpected complications demanding emergency procedures that cannot be specifically discussed in advance is addressed.
Conclusions
During the pandemic, specific tools must be developed to ensure safe experiences for surgical patients and prevent them from having misunderstandings concerning their care.

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