In March 2020, the New York City metropolitan area became the epicenter of the United States’ SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and the surge of new cases threatened to overwhelm the area’s hospital systems. This article describes how an anesthesiology department at a large urban academic hospital rapidly adapted and deployed to meet the threat head-on. Topics included are preparatory efforts, development of a team-based staffing model, and a new strategy for resource management. While still maintaining a fully functioning operating theater, discrete teams were deployed to both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 intensive care units, rapid response/airway management team, the difficult airway response team, and labor and delivery. Additional topics include the creation of a temporary ‘pop-up’ anesthesiology-run COVID-19 intensive care unit utilizing anesthesia machines for monitoring and ventilatory support as well as the development of a simulation and innovation team that was instrumental in the rapid prototyping of a controlled split-ventilation system and conversion of readily available BIPAP units into emergency ventilators. As the course of the disease is uncertain, the goal of this article is to assist others in preparation for what may come next with COVID-19 as well as potential future pandemics.
- Critical care
- Practice management