Those Unseen May Inadvertently Expand Health Crisis

Those Unseen May Inadvertently Expand Health Crisis

Staff

Finn Hopmann

STANWICH ROAD/REMOTE – Considering the planet is social distancing, Covid-19 has touched everybody.  And if you haven’t been to a doctor recently, you will find out.

Health effects due to the virus are known, but while becoming infected by the coronavirus is a visible and active change, there are also many more hidden health consequences in society beyond infections.

Many people, especially those most vulnerable to the coronavirus, have avoided any social contact and that can include what would be regular doctor visits.  Apart from the fact that this can increase the risk of mortality by 29% according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, these vulnerable people often cancel necessary medical procedures. 

Doctors, even those who do not directly treat COVID-19 patients, are now faced with a dilemma: do they ask their patients to undergo necessary medical procedures, thereby increasing the danger of COVID-19 infection, or do they avoid these procedures, which could lead to other health-related consequences? 

Cancer patients are a group hit especially hard by the pandemic.  Many cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, suppress the body’s immune system, making it easier for viruses to affect the body. 

Additionally, the focus of many hospitals towards COVID-19 treatment and away from more “traditional patients” made many affected by cancer feel forgotten in the shuffle, according to Healthline, a website which supports whole-patient wellness.

Coronavirus has also affected the way doctors treat their patients everywhere from dentists to pediatricians. 

Locally this has had an impact: Practitioners at Orthopedic & Neurosurgery Specialists (ONS), who have locations in Greenwich and Stamford, radically changed the way they treat their patients. 

One of the most visible changes is doctor-patient contact. Due to the CDC’s advice of reducing the length of any contact, the practitioners at ONS talk with their patients through Zoom calls. Only if it is absolutely necessary, the patients are called into the office, and even then contact is avoided and doctors mostly stay with the patients for less than a minute. 

Ironically, during this pandemic ONS has been receiving a lot more patients, mostly children. Some believe that this is due to more physical activity during these times with less school work. Whatever the reason may be, the fact remains that doctors offices can easily become ‘hotspots’ for the coronavirus to spread. 

To avoid this, ONS has put strict rules in place: Everyone entering the building has their temperature taken and is thoroughly questioned about symptoms and recent travel. Masks are a must and doctors put on new gloves for every patient. 

Even now, that all 50 states have started some kind of opening, it does not look like the fight has ended for healthcare workers. Especially in these times, it is important that all doctors and nurses are thanked, both at the frontline against COVID-19 and at local practitioners. 

Finn Hopmann is a rising junior who will study at UWC Atlantic in Wales in the fall.