Doctors fear people are putting off seeking medical attention due to COVID-19

One side effect of the coronavirus pandemic is a drop in non-COVID-19 emergency medical care.

News 12 Staff

Apr 16, 2020, 10:33 PM

Updated 1,468 days ago

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One side effect of the coronavirus pandemic is a drop in non-COVID-19 emergency medical care.
Doctors say that this is not due to fewer emergencies, but due to patients delaying medical care due to fear of being exposed to the virus. But doctors say that delaying or skipping care for other ailments may have deadly consequences.
“If someone needs to be seen, we absolutely want to see them and we are going to protect them,” says Dr. Andy Anderson.
Anderson is the CEO of Robert Wood Johnson-Barnabas Medical Group. He says that all 13 of his acute care hospitals and more than 200 practice sites across the state have protocols in place to keep non-COVID-19 patients safe and separate from those infected by the virus.
“If it’s the emergency room, it may be outside the emergency room in a tent-like structure. We’ll ask them what symptoms they have. And if they have COVID-19 symptoms, they would be put on a different track,” says Anderson.
Anderson says that while nonessential surgeries and medical procedures are postponed, those that are needed can and are still happening safely.
“If someone has a surgery or procedure needed – cancer diagnosis for instance – there is still a way to do that,” he says. “And again, people will have the proper protections and we will create as sterile an environment as possible.”
Photos: Countries Around the World Cope with COVID-19
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Many doctors and hospitals are also relying on telemedicine. Appointments, consults and screenings are done over the phone or over video to keep patients from having to come in.
But the doctors say that if it is a true emergency – do not wait. Call 911 or go to the hospital immediately.
Anderson says that he expects the medical field to learn from and change moving forward. He says that he is already planning for telemedicine and video appointments to pay a bigger role in health care in the future.


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