Ohood Elzibak, Canadian Orthopaedic Surgery PA on the Frontlines of COVID-19

There is no doubt that orthopaedic surgery practices look very different today than they did only a few days ago.

In the COVID-19 era, the fracture clinic, which is typically buzzing with patients and staff, is eerily quiet and the operating room’s usual multiple-page schedule is empty.

In an effort to conserve resources and minimize exposure to patients and staff, elective surgeries have been put on hold and outpatient clinics have been reduced considerably.

There is much uncertainty about when regular service will resume, but one thing is for sure: people will continue to fall, get hurt, break bones and require orthopaedic care in the days to come.

As an orthopaedic surgery PA, I continue to be involved in patient assessments for urgent musculoskeletal presentations and a reduced number of post-operative visits requiring suture removal, imaging or immobilization.

Patients are carefully screened prior to entry into the hospital.

Precautions are taken for those with recent travel history, upper respiratory symptoms or sick contacts. We are continuing to see those who need us but we are making sure we are protected and risk to others is minimized.

Where possible, we are offering telephone and video visits and referring patients for “virtual physiotherapy” to ensure they have guidance with their exercises and recovery.

Most are grateful for these options. All are understanding and compassionate. Many offer words of support and comfort for healthcare workers and staff.

“As I carefully wash my hands, wave at my coworkers from a distance and head towards the exit doors, I am humbled to be in this profession and I am proud to serve my community during these trying times.

I urge my family, friends, patients, coworkers and all members of the public to continue the good practices we have all implemented in the past week and to be patient, kind and compassionate towards each other.

Together, we will get through this. Despite the losses and challenges we will undoubtedly encounter, I am confident that we will come out stronger, wiser and more united as a community.”


About Ohood Elzibak, CCPA

Ohood is a Canadian Certified Physician Assistant working in Orthopaedic Surgery. She is a graduate of McMaster University’s inaugural Physician Assistant class (2010).

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