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New U.S. health crisis looms as patients without COVID-19 delay care

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New U.S. health crisis looms as patients without COVID-19 delay care

By Sharon Bernstein

 

2020-07-13T103329Z_1_LYNXNPEG6C0L6_RTROPTP_4_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-USA-CARE.JPG

A protective screen is seen at the entrance to a negative pressure ICU hospital room, where COVID-19 patients are treated, at St John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard, California, U.S., July 9, 2020. Picture taken July 9, 2020. REUTERS/Sandra Stojanovic

 

(Reuters) - A Texas man who waited until his brain tumor was softball-sized; a baby who suffered an ear infection for six days; a heart patient who died: The resurgence of COVID-19 is creating another health crisis as hospitals fill and patients are fearful or unable to get non-emergency care.

 

With U.S. coronavirus infections reaching new heights, doctors and hospitals say they are also seeing sharp declines in patients seeking routine medical care and screenings - and a rise in those who have delayed care for so long they are far sicker than they otherwise would be.

 

"I had one lady who had delayed for five days coming in with abdominal pain that was getting worse and worse," said Dr. Diana Fite, who practices emergency medicine in Houston. "When she finally came in, she had a ruptured appendix."

 

After the pandemic was declared a national emergency in March, many states banned non-essential medical procedures, and the number of patients seeking care for other ailments took a nosedive. Hospitals and medical practices were hit hard financially.

 

Emergency department use dropped by 42% during the first 10 weeks of the pandemic despite a rise in patients presenting with symptoms of the coronavirus, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show. In the same period, patients seeking care for heart attacks dropped by 23% and stroke care by 20%.

 

As the initial outbreak leveled off in the weeks that followed, healthcare experts planned to handle primary care differently should infections rise again, making sure minor procedures like cancer screenings were still allowed and assuring patients that hospitals and clinics were safe.

 

But the recent surge in cases has swamped hospitals in many states, including Texas, Arizona, Florida and parts of California.

 

CANCER MORTALITY RATES

 

Texas has again banned many non-emergency procedures, though cancer surgeries are still allowed, and a hospital in California's San Joaquin Valley for several days admitted only COVID-19 patients.

 

Patients without COVID-19 - either out of fear, confusion or because of difficulty in obtaining the care they need - are again staying home.

 

The result is a healthcare crisis in the making, said Austin oncologist Dr. Debra Patt, who said she expects mortality rates from cancer to skyrocket in the years after the pandemic because patients have delayed their care.

 

"They're scared to go in the hospital unless they absolutely have to," said Patt. "And even when the patients are willing, it's hard to get things done."

 

Patt in recent days treated a man who waited to come in for headaches and dizziness until he had lost 35 pounds and had a softball-sized tumor in his head.

 

Fite, who is president of the Texas Medical Association, cared for a baby whose parents waited six days before bringing him in with a severe ear infection.

 

Patt said screening mammograms are down by 90% in Austin, where she specializes in breast cancer and serves as executive vice president of Texas Oncology. That means some tumors will be missed, and women who develop aggressive cancers might not know about it until the disease is more advanced and more likely to be deadly.

 

"It's an impact we will see on cancer survival for years to come," she said.

 

Dr. David Fleeger, a colorectal surgeon in Austin and a past president of the Texas Medical Association, said he has had numerous patients cancel colonoscopies in recent days.

 

"The delays in colonoscopies that are occurring right now ultimately will lead to more cancers and more deaths," he said.

 

'IN A HOLDING PATTERN'

 

Patt's patient Helen Knost had to put off surgery for breast cancer in early spring because it was considered non-emergency in Texas and barred at the time, and she was treated instead with the medication Tamoxifen.

 

"It's very strange to know you have cancer and you're just hanging out with it, just in a holding pattern," said Knost, who did ultimately undergo successful surgery.

 

In California, doctors at the 150-bed Adventist Lodi Memorial Hospital in the San Joaquin Valley breadbasket were determined that a second surge in coronavirus cases would not bring a repeat of the pandemic's early days, when emergency room visits dropped in half. Emergency medical technicians also reported a 45% rise in the number of heart patients who died before they could be brought to the hospital.

 

Hospital CEO Daniel Wolcott led a campaign to inform the community that the medical center was open and safe, even speaking to people about it in the grocery store.

 

But with new COVID-19 cases swamping the hospital, sickening nearly 30 staff members and forcing it to divert non-coronavirus cases to other facilities for several days, Wolcott fears that again patients with heart conditions and other illnesses will stay away.

 

"We won't know for years how many people lost their lives or lost good years of their lives for fear of coronavirus," he said.

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-07-13
 
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It shows how unhealthy western populations are (especially the USA). Super reliant on a massive scam of a healthcare system . Those covid numbers are only going up because people are not using elective surgery which in most (not all) cases is a massive money spinner to the hospitals and not that important in the scheme of things . Now the hospitals are reporting huge numbers of covid positive cases to suck money from the government  . Let this sink in ... hospitals are at the mercy of shareholders in the states and greed wins over people every time . 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, mtls2005 said:

In a final analysis in two or three years, the Excess Mortality figures will shock the American public.

 

And farther into the future Covid-19 will likely be referred to as the Trump Flu.

 

 

Seems to be your projecting what  his  far left  and socialist adversaries opinions might be thinkin!  Its like who cares, especially knowing that  covid 19 started in China  and infected  180

countries 

 

Edited by riclag
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2 hours ago, thaichina said:

Hi,

 

Do you have a link for this discovery?

 

Thanks

I am not sure if this is what the the poster was referring to, but the article does has the 8,000 figure in it. However, the post does not show those 8,000 being a "result of the lockdown":

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/health-52361519

 

The article does show that a significant number of "above average" deaths were not caused by the virus, and they were looking for an explanation of that. Maybe that is related to the article the poster was referring to. From that article:

 

Quote

He said it could be that people with other illnesses were avoiding going to hospital for treatment - visits to A&E have halved since the pandemic started - or an under-reporting of coronavirus.

 

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13 hours ago, timendres said:

I am not sure if this is what the the poster was referring to, but the article does has the 8,000 figure in it. However, the post does not show those 8,000 being a "result of the lockdown":

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/health-52361519

 

The article does show that a significant number of "above average" deaths were not caused by the virus, and they were looking for an explanation of that. Maybe that is related to the article the poster was referring to. From that article:

 

 

That was the closest that I could find too but it was not in a day as he said, it was in a week. And over 6200 of those 8000 mentioned Covid, leaving 1800 unaccounted for. Maybe he's referring to a different article but whatever the case 8,000 deaths a day seem unlikely. 

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I hope the major USA TV networks put this kind of news story out there as well.

  Maybe some of the people around the idiots who keep going out in groups and

causing the spread of the Covid virus, will tell them to stay home.  I have sympathy for 

the older people who have been infected by the uncaring younger people who think

that because they will survive if they get infected, well it does not matter to them

if their older relatives or friends or young children get sick. They are also the same

kind who will not take responsibility even if it is obvious that they did spread

Covid and someone died. The USA will lose beyond a 10th of their population before

this pandemic is over, as it is still obvious that way too many will not get serious

about being careful until it is far too out of control. After all look at how long it

took Trump to even wear a mask once in pubic, and so many people follow him

as if he was Jesus.

Geezer

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On 7/13/2020 at 6:11 PM, mtls2005 said:

In a final analysis in two or three years, the Excess Mortality figures will shock the American public.

 

And farther into the future Covid-19 will likely be referred to as the Trump Flu.

 

 

You're absolutely correct.  In 2-3 years we will see all the excess deaths by suicide, cancer and other life saving  operations that were put off that could have saved lives, starvation etc. etc.  

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On 7/13/2020 at 4:04 AM, snoop1130 said:

"The delays in colonoscopies that are occurring right now ultimately will lead to more cancers and more deaths," he said.

While there is no argument about this procedure detecting problems and allowing people to live longer, this is a bread-and-butter sale for the doctors.  Someone I know who works as a recovery nurse in a clinic that specializes in such procedures tells me that they keep the patients on a tight three-year rotation.  Some doctors do four per day.  No wonder this is what the doctor in the article was griping about, maybe he's behind in his mortgage.

It's the sort thing I'm glad to procrastinate about.  Anyone who has been through one knows what a pleasant experience it isn't.

 

 

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14 hours ago, steelepulse said:

You're absolutely correct.  In 2-3 years we will see all the excess deaths by suicide, cancer and other life saving  operations that were put off that could have saved lives, starvation etc. etc.  

Put off because ICU units were full. Put off because people who need those operations tend to be in poorer health and are more susceptible to Covid.

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They should have set up army field hospitals to take care of the Corona cases and allowed people with normal problems to keep using the hospitals.

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