Ontario plastic surgeons mobilize to donate ventilators to hospitals

Hospital

A mobilization effort among Ontario’s plastic and cosmetic surgeons is on to donate their ventilators to hospitals to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.

After university professor and former surgeon Peter Adamson drafted a letter urging private surgeons to donate their equipment, Dr. Jamil Asaria got involved in working with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, as well as the health ministry to create a catalogue.

“These are all independent facilities and there’s not a million of them, we think there’s between 50 to 100 of them in the province,” he said of his field, adding the college has a full listing.

Asaria also serves as Canadian region director for the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

The request to the College is to message every private physician that would have a ventilator and see if they would be willing to donate.

“That’s a big deal, many people may not want to contribute their machine because we depend on that for our livelihood,” he said.

The other step he says is although the College would have already certified private ventilators, they would have to cleared by the ministry before going into use at a hospital.

“We’re hoping to have this done by the end of this week,” he said.

Ventilator capacity has been a major question as the outbreak has continued, with a new report based on evolving data projecting capacity could run out in less than 40 days (researchers say because it’s a preliminary report, all findings should be interpreted with caution.)

Health Minister Christine Elliott has credited the willingness of private operators to donate their machines, and Asaria said there are efforts to get other health communities on board.

“There’s a lot of oral surgeons and dentists who may have anesthesia machines in their clinic,” he said. “We’ve been in communication with our colleagues on the dentistry side for them to do the same thing and they are working on a similar process.”

He added while it may only be up to 100 that he and other cosmetic surgeons can donate, every one helps.

“Even a small thing is definitely better than nothing,” he said.