The resistance of patients to go to hospitals and clinics to treat chronic conditions or receive preventive treatments —for fear of catching Covid-19— is of high concern for the island's medical class, since in the Other conditions not related to the novel virus may worsen in the future.
Dr. Bolívar Arboleda Osorio, medical director of the HIMA Hospital in Caguas, said in an interview with EL VOCERO that this reluctance is “a common experience and general ”since the curfew began on the Island, but the call to patients is to keep going to medical appointments.
“ We know that there are a number of chronic diseases – such as diabetes, hypertension, diseases heart and cancer — which need certain continuous and intermittent care. So these people, when they stop coming to their appointments, put their health at risk, "he said.
He said that his main concern is the delay in treating situations that treating them on time can prevent the patient from suffering some damage or mortality.
The risks of waiting
“Some of these things, if you don't take them early, because eventually they will end up with the patient dying of his disease, perhaps not immediately , but we see the result two years later and so on. Right now, in 2020 we are seeing the results of the lack of care we had after Hurricane Maria in 2017, because some things do not manifest themselves immediately, "said the doctor specialized in mastology.
The HIMA San Pablo system , with facilities in Bayamón, Caguas, Fajardo and Humacao, keeps visits to patients restricted and implemented a system so that those in intensive care can communicate with their families. In the case of suspected Covid-19 patients, they created a specialized area to receive them and another to attend to them, separate from the rest of the hospital community.
“We are measuring Covid-19 mortalities, but we are not seeing yet or counting the mortalities of people who never have or never had Covid-19, and who due to lack of care will eventually suffer from a greater illness and will die. That number is much more difficult to count because it is easy to see if he died with a positive diagnosis of the virus, but what we are not going to attribute to the coronavirus are those mortalities that we are going to start seeing in a few months, a year or two years, for that lack of care, "said the doctor.
Arboleda Osorio explained that, so far, he has seen patients arriving in the emergency department with exacerbated diabetes conditions and heart failure who were on their medications and who had complications after not go to their medical appointments for "fear" of the coronavirus.
When the Covid-19 emergency began, there was a call on the Island from the medical class and the authorities not to go to hospitals, but according to Arboleda Osorio that panorama changed.
“Those recommendations were not because we thought that the hospital was not safe. They were because we thought at first that the virus was not going to manifest itself in such a severe way and that people would become less contaminated if they were kept in the houses, but it is impossible for them to remain in the house. It was not saying that they did not come to the hospital, it was telling them not to come because they were going to be better at home and only those who have difficulty breathing come, "he said.
" That was the call in what we saw what was happening , but once all the hospitals took security measures, because then there really is no greater reason to be concerned about becoming contaminated in the hospital, "he pointed out.