Surgery standstills are brewing a 'secondary healthcare crisis,' orthopedic surgeon says

Angie Stewart -  

Exclusively focusing on urgent medical needs during the COVID-19 pandemic could spawn a "secondary healthcare crisis," according to Benjamin Domb, MD, whose opinion was published by the Daily Herald.

Three thoughts from Dr. Domb:

1. Letting non-coronavirus medical ailments go untreated could cause problems larger than the current crisis. For patients with orthopedic needs such as joint pain, procedure delays could lead to opioid dependence, depression, disability and more.

2. Bans on non-urgent procedures mean heart disease patients can't get routine blood tests, cancer screenings are put off and women can't get annual mammograms. A 28-year-old patient who completely tore his hamstring tendon during the pandemic had to wait six weeks to get the results of his MRI scan and be referred to Dr. Domb.

"If his surgery were delayed any further, his tendon tear would have become irreparable, and he would have suffered lifelong weakness and chronic pain," Dr. Domb said.

3. Every year, more than 2 million Americans have orthopedic surgeries that are now deemed "elective." To get those patients the care they need, Dr. Domb believes physicians "must soon return to our specialties, and reopen subacute and preventative healthcare in this country."

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