Working the Front Lines: Priya Chopra, General Surgeon

Priya Chopra, mother of Grade 9 student Arjun Deckha, works as a general surgeon at the William Osler Health System in Brampton. Her practice is focused on the surgical treatment of breast cancer.  However, much has changed since the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We aren’t seeing patients face-to-face anymore and have moved to virtual consults and follow-ups,” said Priya. “We are talking to patients over the phone or using various video telehealth platforms similar to Skype or Facetime now.” 
Up until last week, Priya was still performing surgeries. But effective March 30, all surgeries – excluding major emergencies and select urgent cancer cases – are cancelled until the crisis starts to resolve.
“One of the reasons for stopping surgeries is to preserve some of the personal protective equipment that gets utilized at a faster rate with multiple procedures,” said Priya. “Certain types of surgeries and anesthesia pose a higher risk of viral spread. Since the virus is asymptomatic in many and thus undiagnosed, it could unknowingly be spread during a visit to hospital clinic, office or operation. Social distancing and cancelling non-urgent visits minimizes the risk to everybody.”
Working in a hospital and being exposed to patients is obviously risky, but Priya says they use universal precautions and a higher degree of protection when a known or suspected COVID-positive patient is being treated.
“I think it is important for healthcare workers to try and stay positive, stay informed and do our best to carry on,” she said. “We ask the public to really make an effort to stay home, do e-visits with friends and family, and wash hands. We all have to “pack our patience”, as there are many unknowns."
Thank you, Priya, for everything you do.