Covid-Delayed Medical Care

Check this out.  What you will see is an article clearly outlining the kinds of medical procedures that are being postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic. As summarized in the article “Even with telemedicine, there were 6.9 million fewer mental health visits. Early childhood immunizations declined by 22%. And 31% of adults avoided preventive care in 2020.”

In the On Doctors’ MindsSM interviews I am conducting every month; I am repeatedly hearing Oncologists expressing concerns about the “stage shifting” that they are seeing in their practices. Translated, they are seeing patients initially presenting with more advanced cancers as the result of missed screenings through colonoscopies, mammograms, etc.  

One physician told me a really scary story in this regard. In 2019, a routine screening found one of his patients to have a PSA of 12. Not good. The doctor told the patient to come back in a few months to have that value rechecked. Along comes the pandemic and the patient cancels his recheck appointment, being too fearful of the virus to show up in the doctor’s office. In 2021, the patient finally got up the nerve to come in for the recheck.  His PSA? 127! His prostate cancer? Widely metastasized!  

Bottom Line. Doctors are telling me that it will take years for the total impact of postponement of care to be realized. . . BUT. This article points out a few “Red Alert” symptoms that cannot be ignored, even in the short term. Hint. If you have chest pains or shortness of breath, get to the hospital quick, even if there are patients upstairs being treated for COVID!  

Amazing that people have to have this pointed out to them, but Cardiologists are telling me that especially in the early days of the pandemic, when everybody was totally confused and fearful, their usually busy cardiac care units were silent and empty. Explanation? People were having “silent heart attacks,” ignoring their chest pains and just staying home. 

Bad idea!!!

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