Dr Ianis Siriopol
Basically, after one week upon my arrival in Genova, in Italy, the COVID-19 pandemic exploded. Since its first report in December 2019, despite great efforts made in almost every country worldwide, this disease has been continuing to spread globally, especially in most parts of Europe, with Italy being very much affected.
Due to this, at the end of February at the San Marino Hospital, a complete change of approach was taken. The healthcare system used different strategies and practices that had to be employed when confronting a pandemic like a coronavirus. Therefore, Prof. Pelosi allowed me to stay and observe the new approach of the ICU Department, especially the updated protocols based on COVID-19 applicability and the new medical planning. Moreover, I was able to continue my fellowship by working in a restructured Intensive Care Department taking into account that the operating rooms were put on hold. Here, I had the great opportunity to meet extraordinary doctors, very well trained and highly dedicated to their patients.
In an outbreak like this when all doctors were focusing on patients’ care, the ICU medical staff tried every time to discuss with me the treatment plan of every case received. This helped me improve a lot my knowledge regarding patient management and treatment, such as respiratory failure management, mechanical ventilation for ARDS patients, continuous renal replacement therapy, advanced haemodynamic monitoring, echocardiography, as well as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation basics. The last procedure mentioned had a great impact on my knowledge so far as I had the chance to assist an ECMO expert. Specifically, I got familiarised with patient selection criteria, the ECMO machine, cannulation and decannulation strategies, and mechanical ventilation during ECMO. I was extremely enthusiastic about the ECMO procedure and would welcome the occasion to learn more about it in the near future.
Also, I would like to take the opportunity to thank again to Dr Molin, Prof Patroniti and last but not the least Dr Rossetti. It must be highlighted that all of them took care of me in and outside the hospital. It feels great when you get to know that someone, at such a high position and overloaded with work, is not only teaching you and monitoring your work but is also appreciating your efforts and is trying to make sure that the training level will be beyond expectations. I thoroughly enjoyed working with such a great team of people. It was a pleasure to watch and learn from my colleagues.
In addition to their professional background, one thing I have noticed is that Italians are very friendly people and it felt natural that we were on a first-name basis with each other setting aside formal titles. I was welcomed at any of their outside meetings in Genova and making new friends contributed to having the best experience I could possibly have, in these difficult circumstances.
To sum up, my experience was truly rewarding due to the opportunity to meet and even work alongside extremely good people from a diverse background of cultures, occupations and interests.
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