EANS President´s Message on Corona virus


Dear Friends & Colleagues,

Sometimes events are overtaking themselves.

Corona-cases are popping up everywhere around us and all around the globe. Global connectivity makes all this looking very dense and increasingly tense. Some of our colleagues have been infected, some may have passed away, and others are under treatment. The situation in Italy has become extremely frightening, and our friends there are working under extremely stressful and dangerous conditions, with decreasing resources – due to decreased number of (sick) staff, and due to limited access to fully equipped ICU beds. Our thoughts are with them, and we should support them through regular telephone calls and cheer them up whenever we can.

The EANS Board is using a variety of communication channels in order to monitor what’s going on in our numerous membership countries. South-Eastern European and Eurasian countries are reporting more and more infections as well. We are having regular Zoom video-calls, and we are adjusting our organizational business to that.

As (elective) neurosurgeons we are grounded to large extent. It is as if an invisible wave is passing through all of us. It is our noble task to keep the amplitude of this wave as low as possible through containment, and to stretch it over a longer period-of-time, so as to avoid overflow of our intensive care units with attached respirator capacities. Instead of drilling holes in other people’s heads, and instead of drilling screws in our patients’ pedicles, we may have to assist ICU specialists, anaesthesiologists, virologists and others in order to get their jobs done.

All that has reached international political dimensions. The example of the transatlantic fight over a small European Biotech-company, which is quite advanced in terms of potential Covid-vaccination illustrates in an excellent way, that difficult times may bring the best out of some people, and the worst out of others. We, the neurosurgeons, shall stay united in our efforts help our patients, our families, our colleagues, neighbors, and friends from all over the world to get through these difficult months in the best possible way. To maintain that spirit of ours is the most challenging, yet equally most inspiring part of our professional lives.

Inevitably, a number of EANS events (i.e. the Training Course in Evian) had to be postponed, and there are more to be annulated, probably. But, as mentioned earlier: That isn’t the end of the world. We will return to our regular activities in the future and we will enjoy all these meetings and courses as ever before. I am sure that due to the current lock downs and travel bans we will learn additional skills, i.e. in telecommunication, which will become useful for our future activities.

We will keep you informed as good as we can through our website. Be assured that we are following the evolution of this situation very closely.
I wish you all well, and hope to see you soon – healthy and fresh – in our arena.

With my warmest regards,
Karl Schaller