I am pleased that the Ministry of Health today announced that elective surgery and some non-medical healthcare professions can resume activity. It does not mean they will be ready. It does not mean it will happen soon…
It DOES mean that patients diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of this crisis can start getting surgery and treatment again. Hospital based CT and MRI machines will start processing non-emergency cases. And everyone that has been waiting for physiotherapy and their dentist can expect to see them at some point.
We have flattened the curve and our collective sacrifice means that we never ran out of health care resources. Ventilators, ICU beds and hospital resources remained available for ALL patients unlike the tragedies that occurred in Italy, China and Spain.
HOWEVER, this does not mean that there will be a return to our baseline. We are all awaiting guidance from our various colleges on safe ways to see patients.
Until we develop a vaccine or find a cure; we will all be living with an elevated risk of mortality that hasn’t been seen since the proliferation of modern antibiotics in the 1940s.
As far as we know…
- between 25-50% of patients show no symptoms and MAY be spreading Covid 19 at any time (that includes the physicians and staff in our office).
- There is a lack of Safety equipment still (masks, gowns, faceshields are unavailable from traditional suppliers).
- All patients will be screened by their doctor to decide if an in-patient encounter is safe and necessary. Wherever possible; remote / virtual visits will become the norm.
- The COVID lab test fails 15% of the time.