There’s finally light at the end of the tunnel, but even as we approach the end of the COVID pandemic, doctors and their patients face a variety of alarming risks.
In our previous blog on 2021’s most significant safety concerns in health care, we detailed a few of the more obvious issues sparked by COVID. Now, we’ll delve into a few of the hidden, yet equally problematic matters that threaten today’s medical workers and patients alike:
After months of working long hours in stressful environments — and often while understaffed and under-equipped — health care professionals are feeling the strain more than ever. Mental health problems are common, as are accompanying concerns such as insomnia and self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. These issues pave the way for an increased prevalence of medical errors, which were already a huge problem before COVID took over.
Throughout the pandemic, patients have been reluctant to pursue preventative health care for fear of COVID exposure. Meanwhile, even those who want care have been forced to delay it due to staffing shortages and evolving government mandates.
In 2021, the effects of a year of delayed diagnoses will become abundantly clear, as patients complain of severe symptoms from diseases and conditions that would have otherwise been detected months ago. Treatment protocol may be more invasive as a result, thereby increasing the risk of surgical errors, anesthesia issues, and a variety of other hazards.
Some patients may avoid visiting the doctor even when the need for emergency care is obvious. Already, research suggests a rise in delays for heart attack patients and notable increases in appendix rupture cases.