Navigating Non-COVID 19 Health Care During The Pandemic
An Australian Health Worker's quote on Non-COVID patients and care
Many people throughout the course of the pandemic delayed
routine, preventative, emergency, and even palliative health
care from either fear of contracting COVID-19 or because medical
facilities were unable to provide elective or non-emergency procedures.
If you have a story about your own experience with healthcare during the pandemic, share it with us here.
Emergent Care and Elective Procedures
Elective surgeries and emergency care of non COVID-19 related conditions were difficult to manage in the early stages of the pandemic. As the Surgeon General urged medical care practitioners to delay elective procedures to concentrate on COVID-19 treatment, patients stayed home for fear of catching the virus.
This Veteran's Affairs Hospital waiting room, also in West Virginia, stands empty at the begininning of the pandemic because people opted to stay home.
Dire Diagnoses and Essential Care
For many people facing a dagnosis of cancer, chronic conditions, or terminal illness, the COVID-19 pandemic created the additional fear that either care would be unavailable or routine medical appointments might expose them to COVID-19. In some cases regular care was only available via telehealth and therefore not accessible to everyone.
St. Luke's hospital in Minnesota reached capacity proportions as patients who delayed routine care of non-COVID conditions saw their health worsen.
Hospitals and I.C.U Bed Shortages
Many hospitals faced concerns over limited capacities of Intensive Care Unit beds for both COVID-19 patients and those who needed other types of life saving care. Stories from around the country of full or near capacity I.C.U's reached crises proportions around December of 2020.
From this NYT article: "More than a third of Americans live in areas where hospitals are running critically short of intensive care beds, federal data show, revealing a newly detailed picture of the nation’s hospital crisis during the deadliest week of the Covid-19 epidemic."
In Baltimore, residents were urged to quell rampant gun violence to avoid already overloaded hospitals. With I.C.U beds at capacity, even emergencies like gunshots had to wait for critical and immediate treatment
Healthcare workers express their own fears as Intensive Care Units start to fill up throughout the state of Arizona.
Pregnancy During the Pandemic
Though stressful in general, pregnancy is often a time when parents are looking forward to their child's birth with happiness and joy. During the pandemic, fears of contracting COVID-19, uncertainty about how the vaccine might effect unborn babies, and the strict protocols withing hospitals were just some of the difficult scenarios facing parents awaiting the birth of a new baby.
Dr. Marissa Rhodes, professor and leader in the Journal of the Plague Year project, tells her story of her third pregnancy, childbirth, and handling complications and hospitalization during the COVID-19 pandemic.