From Heart Attacks to Cancer Screenings and Chemotherapy
During the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic, people who did not have symptoms of the disease put themselves at risk as those with chronic conditions missed treatments, skipped appointments and chose not to report serious symptoms; this is the healthcare not received during the coronavirus/covid-19 pandemic. Many who lost their employer funded health insurance also missed schedules and treatments. Add to this the fear of visiting a doctor’s office or clinic with reported cases of Coronavirus/Covid-19 on the uptick, another health crisis may be on the horizon.
This was one of the issues affecting the American public discussed by Houston based neurologist Dr. Steven Goldstein on his regular podcast. The Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast can be heard on: Soundcloud, iHeart, Spotify, or iTunes. To learn more about the Houston Healthcare Initiative, go to www.houstonhealthcareinitiative.org.
Cancer Screenings Plummet
In March and April, patients were asked to postpone appointments that were not urgent. According to a white paper published by ‘Epic Health Research Network’ cancer screenings for cervix, colon, and breast cancer decreased between 86% – 94% in March, 2020. Care for heart attacks, organ transplants, high blood pressure and diabetes fell in March and remain significantly lower compared to the same time in 2019. “There is a 20% decrease in the number of interactions between patients and their oncologists during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Goldstein told his listeners. “Anytime a screening is delayed, it means that detection and early treatment are too, plus important therapy on advanced cancer are not administered.
Some Need To Be Seen
Many physicians, like Dr. Goldstein, ramped up their telemedicine capabilities in March and see patients that way. But there are still times when a patient needs to be seen. Instances where patients have symptoms that include shortness of breath is one. This symptom could signal heart failure, asthma, pneumonia or even the Covid-19 virus. A diagnosis like that cannot be done over the phone. “Patients and their families should err on the side of caution, contact their doctor and allow their physician the opportunity to make the right decision for the best treatment,” Dr. Goldstein said.
What Concerned Patients Can Ask
For those who believe or are told they must get in to see a doctor, and there is time available in a non-emergency, Dr. Goldstein has some potential questions to pose.
- Does everyone on staff and patients wear masks?
- Are the number of persons allowed in the office limited?
- Has everyone on staff been tested for COVID-19?
- Are cleaning protocols sufficient to manage waiting rooms, offices, and labs?
- Has the patient taken responsibility for social distancing, hand washing and mask wearing themselves?
According to Dr. Goldstein, “we have a responsibility to our patients to provide the most appropriate and effective care possible while at the same time keeping potential exposure to the Coronavirus/Covid-19 virus to a minimum.”
About Houston Healthcare Initiative And Dr. Steven Goldstein
Dr. Steven Goldstein is a Houston based neurologist. He founded the Houston Healthcare Initiative and is an advocate for common sense solutions to the healthcare crisis that confronts the citizens and residents of the United States of America.