Plasma therapy negated due to these sessions, says AMC Principal P.V. Sudhakar
In March 2020, when the first COVID-19 case was detected in the district, it threw up a challenge to the medical fraternity. The disease was new, and the treatment protocols too were evolving with every passing day, and it was not something that could be learnt about from a textbook.
At that juncture, District Collector V. Vinay Chand and Principal of Andhra Medical College, who is also the district COVID Special Officer P.V. Sudhakar, evolved an innovative learning process. They decided to conduct a series of webinars in collaboration with doctors from the United States.
Till date, over 75 webinars were conducted and each of them was a learning experience for the participants, as they shared their knowledge about the latest treatment protocols and discussed critical case studies, to evolve effective methods of treatment.
There were a number of learning experiences such as when to administer steroids, how to administer them and in how much quantity. These were discussed not just after hearsay, but based also on scientific evidences and data, said Dr. P.V. Sudhakar.
The seminars were open to all in the medical fraternity, especially those engaged in COVID treatment, and experts from the USA, UK and India were roped in to share their knowledge about the pandemic.
Alumni of Andhra Medical College, now in top positions in the USA, such as Dr. Sridhar Chilimuri, physician-in-chief and chairman of the department of medicine at Bronx Care Hospital in New York, and Dr. Ram Mohan Kairam, paediatric neurologist in Texas, played a leading role in disseminating relevant information through the webinars, he said.
Key issues, such as how and when to administer oxygen, were discussed in detail and it was during these webinars that the plasma therapy was negated.
“Initially, plasma was said to be a critical treatment protocol. In the beginning it was thought that plasma should be given just before the patient required ventilator treatment. Then it was said it should be administered within the first five days of being infected, and finally, after taking into account evidence-based data, it was said that plasma therapy was of no use,” said Dr. Sudhakar.
“Apart from discussing clinical management, importance was given to evidence-based studies and peer reviews were conducted in the webinars. We learnt by discussing how cases were handled by respective doctors and this gave us a window not only to rectify flaws, but also evolve treatment protocol and clinical management,” said Dr. Sudhakar.
The webinars were held every Sunday at a time convenient for all and is still being continued.
“We normally take up a topic relevant for that period, as now we are focussing on containing the presumed third wave and how to improve the vaccination process,” he said.
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