New health crisis looms as patients delay care

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on July 13, 2020 - Duration: 02:07s

New health crisis looms as patients delay care

The resurgence of COVID-19 in the U.S. is creating another health crisis as hospitals fill and patients are fearful or unable to get non-emergency care.

This report produced by Yahaira Jacquez.

New health crisis looms as patients delay care

A coronavirus resurgence in the U.S. is creating a second health crisis: with hospitals full of patients suffering from the highly-contagious respiratory disease, many with other health problems are avoiding treatment for fear of contracting COVID-19.

Lynn Jeffers is the Chief Medical Officer at hospital in Oxnard, California.

She says they’re seeing a sharp drop in patients seeking routine medical care, with life-threatening consequences.

"The other day there is somebody who had had symptoms a few days prior and didn't want to tell their loved one because they were afraid they were going to make them go to the hospital or call a doctor.

And in fact, a couple days later, they come in with a heart attack because they didn't tell anybody." Now, hospitals and doctors are sounding the alarm.

"These are people who are also delaying their mammograms and their colonoscopies and might be delaying their diagnosis of breast cancer or colon cancer.

We know these things are still happening despite COVID." The result is a healthcare crisis in the making, says oncologist Dr. Debra Patt.

She’s increasingly seeing patients with alarming conditions trying to wait out the Coronavirus pandemic.

"I had another patient who came in when he was having a lot of falls and he didn't come in to see his doctor when he was a little bit dizzy, he waited until he had had falls and they were more pronounced.

So we had a softball sized brain tumor by the time he had come in and presented for evaluation." Patt said screening mammograms are down by 90% in Austin, where she specializes in breast cancer.

That means some tumors will be missed.

With diseases allowed to progress before they are diagnosed, Patt expects mortality rates from cancer to skyrocket in the years after the pandemic.

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