With the pandemic situation not looking to get better any time soon, fear is gripping not only those ill with the coronavirus but also those suffering from critical diseases such as cancer and coronary artery diseases as well as those requiring surgeries. Unfortunately, they are delaying hospital visits, thus risking their lives.
Dr Bollineni Bhaskar Rao, Managing Director, KIMS Hospitals, is naturally concerned. “Even as the number of COVID-19 cases declines in many places, patients with cancer, heart disease and strokes, among others, are delaying or forgoing critical procedures that could keep them alive,” he says.
Another wave of deaths
Doctors are concerned about a second wave of deaths caused indirectly by Covid-19 as patients with the above mentioned life-threatening conditions have also stopped seeking treatment in large numbers.
Dr Hari Prasad, president of Apollo Group of Hospitals, articulates why this doesn’t have to be so. “The fact remains that an individual is less likely to contract the virus in a hospital than he/she could in any other public place. Therefore, the community needs to focus on preventive care and early diagnosis and treatment for non-COVID conditions. If this does not happen, we are staring at another epidemic of larger and more dangerous proportions of non-Covid diseases,” warns Dr Hari Prasad.
However, cardiologists empathise with the fear, as right from the start of the pandemic, cardiac patients especially have been told that they face the highest risk of complication as well as death if they contract the new virus.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created a sense of fear among the general public in visiting hospitals. This resulted in serious consequences to patients. For instance, we notice that a lot of patients could have helped themselves by coming to hospitals a little early for their diagnoses,” adds Dr Bollineni Bhaskar Rao. “And we have seen this trend a lot more in cardiology, nephrology and oncology.”