The Los Angeles Times recently ran a story about Deryn Warren, a bladder cancer patient who broke her wrist in November 2019. She has not received hospital care for either the broken wrist of the bladder cancer in recent months, because as she says “hospitals are full of COVID people.”
Warren is not alone. Many people with various sorts of non-emergency (but important) medical need have been studiously avoiding both hospitals and clinics in recent months, for the same reason Warren gave. This has given a boost to telemedicine, to use of technology to allow for “virtual” visits with one’s doctor. Despite the advances made in telemedicine, sometimes there are times when actual in-person contact is helpful, and real harm is risked by some of those who are staying away from the relevant buildings, however reasonable the impulse is under these circumstances.
In Pill Form:
The story in the LA Times also carried a quote from Dr Burton Eisenberg, executive medical director of the Hoag Family Cancer Institute. He said that mammograms have dropped by as much as 90% as a consequence of the pandemic and he expressed concern that “you’re not going to spot that woman with early-stage breast cancer who needs a follow-up biopsy,” for whom early detection could be a life saver.