Friday, April 24, 2020

Collateral Damage: Effect of the Pandemic on Patients Without COVID-19

Without doubt, the current pandemic is impacting patients without COVID-19 by way of cancelled appointments, delayed elective procedures and less aggressive care for hospitalized cases. Some patients may simply avoid urgent hospital care out of fear of contagion.

Uncertainty is getting the worst of some of us. Typically, healthcare providers make decisions based on risk to the patient. Now medical decisions are commonly made on perceived risk to the provider. This is the equivalence of a world turned upside down in medicine. We have seen this before at the onset of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

For a thoughtful perspective on the collateral damage of the pandemic on patients without COVID-19, I refer you to this article recently published in the NEJM.

We will soon enter a time of living with COVID-19, one where we will need to become comfortable in providing the standard of care for all patients, with or without COVID-19.