|Year : 2020 | Volume
| Issue : 5 | Page : 393-394
“Resident” experts without experience
Department of Periodontics, Dental College, Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Lamphelpat, Imphal - 795 004, Manipur, India
|Date of Web Publication||1-Sep-2020|
Department of Periodontics, Dental College, Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Lamphelpat, Imphal - 795 004, Manipur
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Kumar A. “Resident” experts without experience. J Indian Soc Periodontol 2020;24:393-4
Corona virus was called novel coronavirus. It was called novel because it's a new coronavirus and has not been identified earlier in humans. This virus, first identified in Wuhan China, is different from other coronaviruses which are found in humans and cause minor illnesses like common cold.
The disease caused by this virus was earlier named as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”. On February 11, 2020 The World Health Organization publicized official and the new name of this disease as “coronavirus disease 2019”, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, 'CO' stands for 'corona,' 'VI' for 'virus,' and 'D' for disease.
As we all know, everything across the world came to a standstill except the medical field and research for the vaccine. In India, the frontline warriors were engaged in saving lives of people and fighting this pandemic, many times in hostile environments.
The disease was new for medical profession also but they adapted to it and are valiantly fighting at forefront. Many of our esteemed colleagues from medical side have lost their lives as well. As per the data released by Indian Medical Association (IMA) on July 24, 2020, 1279 doctors have been infected and 93 have unfortunately lost their lives. This data has been collected by Dr. Rajeev Jaydevan, who is the IMA Kochi, Kerala branch president. They are managing the cases, adapting and modifying the treatment protocols as per the requirement, trying new treatments and doing a lot of active research on patients to find an efficacious cure. Few of our contemporaries in dentistry, especially working in government sector, have been posted in corona wards and are doing their bit (although not practicing dentistry) to help our medical colleagues.
Dentistry in India also came to standstill unlike medical profession. Obviously there was fear of spread through dental procedures, as procedures in our profession produce aerosols. The dental clinics were closed. Dental colleges were also closed initially but in later stages few of them started working only to cater to emergency patients.
With dentistry not at all in picture during the pandemic, most of dentists have become “residents” at home and dental clinics and our primary dental research centers (our post-graduate dental departments) are not fully functional. Hardly anyone would have even examined a COVID-19 patient, leave alone treating them. Dentists are even scared to examine the people who unfortunately got infected with this virus and now have been cured.
Initially most of us were just busy in speculating about the disease and forwarding messages (much of the information was unsubstantiated) on social media and thereby being an active participant in “fear-mongering”. The unfortunate messages of our colleagues getting infected and many of them losing their lives were in circulation and created more apprehension in everyone's mind.
And when the realization set in that we will have to live with this virus and may be the disease, and cannot sit indefinitely idle at home, the dentists purely in practice were all busy in finding equipments/materials which they need to have in their dental clinics to start practicing safely. The dental industry cashed on this fear and sold all types of untested and uncertified materials.
Despite the fact that academics and research departments were not entirely operative, still what we have noticed is, pandemic of scientific articles on COVID-19 and its effects on dentistry especially from many in academic fraternity. By academic fraternity, I don't mean only periodontal fraternity. Sitting at home, many of us have become “resident corona experts.”
Without any practice of dentistry and any research in dental field on COVID-19 occurring, where was this plethora of information about COVID-19 and its effects on dentistry generating from? What experience anyone had to write reviews on this topic. What experience did anyone have to advice others what to follow and what not to? Did individuals who wrote on this topic had any “hands-on” experience in treating dental diseases during this period? How many patients did dentists treat to dish-out information as experts? How did individual create guidelines without any practical experience.
But still we came across so many experts in the field of COVID-19 virology and its effects on dentistry. Most of the efforts in publishing information for fellow dentists, came from extrapolating information from medical field (which was many times factual and practical to their field) to dentistry. Many authors have made good use of the “cut-copy-paste” option available on our computers/laptops and produced scientific materials, guidelines and projected themselves as so called “experts”. Our journal also had more than 50 submissions on COVID-19 or related articles during these 3 months. I had taken a conscious decision on not publishing anything unsubstantiated on this topic.
Most of us were made aware of general guidelines by experts in Ministry of Health and Family welfare. The guidelines were being updated regularly depending on how the disease was behaving as it was a new disease and no one had any idea what course will it take. This regular updating was logical as it had practical experience of managing COVID-19 patients behind it.
I doubt if there were any dentists on the panel (to issue guidelines and rightly so) of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in initial stages. We tend to forget that the information being circulated and re-circulated by us in dental journals is already available to everyone and anyone who can sensibly make a good use of it for his or her own safety and practice.
Dentistry is re-starting now. Even after tsunami of information in dental journals, how many clinicians are strictly following the standard guidelines? How many are wearing personal protective equipments and practicing dentistry?
I think we need a lot of self-analysis and self-realization before writing on such topics. We need to look at credible sources and use our sound judgement before blindly “lifting” information from some source and applying to dentistry. This creates unnecessary fear and harms dentistry more. We need to follow guidelines given by authorities while practicing our profession, educate ourselves (from reliable sources) for our and patient's benefit and not start disseminating information without any practical experience. Just because we have free time at hand and we come across a lot of news and information on COVID, does not mean that we become “Resident Experts without Experience” on this topic.
I sincerely hope that this pandemic will end soon and this pandemic of scientific articles on COVID-19 and its effects on dentistry will also end with it.
We at Indian Society of Periodontology sincerely appreciate the work done by our frontline CORONA warriors (especially our colleagues in medical field) in tackling this disease and pay homage to all those who have unfortunately lost their lives saving us and India.
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