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Stories of Care Podcast August 11, 2022

3 Lessons Learned Fighting COVID-19 in a Pediatric ICU

Amidst the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, Benson Hsu, MD, MBA, FAAP, FCCM, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of South Dakota, Sanford School of Medicine and Chair of the Section on Critical Care at the American Academy of Pediatrics, shares his insights on how he and his colleagues adapted to new challenges in the intensive care unit.

  1. Accept uncertainty.

    How can we as clinicians accept uncertainty while maintaining trust? How can we learn alongside everyone else and at the same time expect patients to trust us in the process?

    Early on we were cautious. The data wasn't necessarily clear at the beginning, and we thought that maybe kids had better outcomes when they had COVID-19, but we still prepared as if we were going to get an onslaught of patients.

    We also implemented infection control measures to protect patients and providers, however, there was a lot of uncertainty at the beginning. As the data changed, we’d adapt and change our protocols quickly.

  2. Balancing patient needs and infection control for clinicians is challenging.

    How do we implement infection control in a way that balances patient care and safety of the health care workforce? During the COVID-19 pandemic there were instances where clinicians put their patients’ needs first, risking their own health and safety. What is the appropriate balance, and how do we further support healthcare workers in protecting themselves?

  3. Community trust in the health care system is critical.

    Ensuring that accurate information is being shared and building trust with the community is critical. There has been an erosion of trust in the medical community, which we need to overcome. Things like a lack of trust and confidence in vaccines directly impact those working in the ICU. The more people who are vaccinated, the safer it is for everyone in the health care setting.

This post provides highlights from episode two of the Stories of Care podcast, Fighting COVID in the Pediatric ICU. For the full interview, listen here.

Project Firstline is a national collaborative led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide infection control training and education to frontline healthcare workers and public health personnel. The American Medical Association is proud to partner with Project Firstline, as supported through CDC-RFA-CK20-2003. CDC is an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this article do not necessarily represent the policies of CDC or HHS and should not be considered an endorsement by the Federal Government.


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