In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, several quarantine initiatives placed a moratorium on elective surgeries and other healthcare procedures. Additionally, many patients replaced traditional in-person checkups with virtual appointments, which, while helpful, do not always provide a sufficient substitute.
These strict measures are beginning to ease up, but many patients still struggle to determine whether greater risk lies in avoiding medical settings or seeking critical care. We offer insight into this difficult decision below:
The Risk of Delayed Diagnosis
While the dangers of delayed diagnosis vary considerably based on the condition in question, early detection is always better. Unfortunately, some conditions can be difficult to spot based on patient reports or video evidence alone. Many tests can only be conducted in person.
When the inability or unwillingness to promptly visit the doctor leads to delays, even a few months without care can hold huge implications for the patient’s long-term health. With many types of cancer, for example, the move from stage I to stage II leads to a far higher mortality risk.
Higher Infection Risk For Delayed Surgery
Sometimes, the very hazards that patients hope to avoid in delaying surgery actually become more dangerous over time. Such is true for the likelihood of infection.
While delaying may be wise during a coronavirus surge, it increases the potential for many hospital-acquired infections, which can prove deadly among the most vulnerable patients. This reality is highlighted in an alarming study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.
Unfortunately, no easy answers exist regarding the timing of care during a pandemic. Consult with your physician to determine the urgency of your surgical or diagnostic concerns.
Look to Regan Zambri Long PLLC for medical malpractice support as you hold negligent doctors or other healthcare workers accountable.