Should you go to the doctor during COVID?

One of the issues that many people have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic has been how to handle going to the doctor. The challenge is deciding what you can postpone without running the risk of potential long-term consequences. Some doctors are canceling routine visits for things such as regular checkups and annual exams as well as elective procedures such as mammograms and colonoscopies.

Speak with your physician before making any decisions about going without care. Many physicians have instituted precautionary measures such as:

  • Screening symptoms
  • Limiting the number of patients in their office at any time
  • Performing temperature checks, seeing non-COVID patients during specific hours
  • Setting up separate waiting rooms for people who may have an infectious illness
  • Disinfecting exam rooms between patients
  • Requiring patients to wear masks

Telemedicine allows physicians and other health professionals to “see” their patients using phone or video. While it’s not a replacement for in–person care, doctors can do routine health checks and monitor certain chronic problems.

Before canceling any scheduled appointments, consider: the reason for your visit and how many people in your community are sick with COVID-19. If your community is experiencing an uptick in COVID cases, you may want to consider canceling any medical appointments that you can safely put off.  

However, it’s essential to keep up with well-child visits and immunizations. The management of chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and hypertension are crucial. Develop a plan with  your physician that allows you to continue treatment while, at the same time, staying safe from COVID.

The most common places to come in contact with germs

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the media have been reporting that fewer people are keeping their medical appointments or seeking medical care due to heightened concerns about coming in contact with germs.  

The doctor’s office is going to be very safe because the doctor, nurses, and other staff are taking extra precautions when it comes to PPE — gowns, masks, gloves, face shields — to not only protect their patients, but their own families and themselves.

However, if going to the doctor during COVID becomes a necessity, try to avoid contact with frequently touched surfaces such as elevator buttons and touchpads, and doorknobs. Opt for touchless payment options. You may want to consider canceling your appointment if you have to use public transportation because of close proximity to strangers for an extended period of time. 

Call ahead for advice

Going to the doctor during COVID or another medical setting such as a hospital or urgent care clinic incurs some risk. However, if you have a true medical need, it’s very important that you get the proper care and treatment. Some people with significant medical issues have avoided getting the proper care due to safety concerns which has resulted in long-term negative effects to their health.

Many doctors across the country have had to close their offices and clinics to stop the spread of COVID-19. If you have had a health issue which resulted in your seeing a new doctor and have developed COVID-19 as a result, you may have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim. 

Contact Scott S. Harris, San Diego medical malpractice attorney, to schedule a free consultation. Visit our website to learn about common examples of malpractice.