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Local doctors asking patients not to delay care for non-COVID illness

“We really, really need to continue to re-educate that your outcomes are potentially gonna be even worse if you delay care for non-COVID illness,” Dr. Ross said.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — COVID-19 has changed so much in our lives, and even for people who don't have the virus — it's putting their health at risk. Craig O’Neill explains why it's so important to "wear the gown" and get your medical check-up.

Chief Medical officer at CHI St. Vincent, Dr. Douglas Ross remembers the early days of COVID-19 and how it intimidated people needing other treatments.

“Unfortunately, we had a lot of people make poor decisions on their health care just to prevent from getting COVID,” Dr. Ross said.

Dr. Ross told us that once protocols were in place, and precautions taken, patients felt more coming in for treatment. But now, cases are surging again.

“We really, really need to continue to re-educate that your outcomes are potentially gonna be even worse if you delay care for non-COVID illness,” he said.

That begs the question, when do you make the call to get something one, COVID or not. It begins with your primary care physician.

“Really, we want that decision between those two because those are the two that have that doctor patient relationship,” he said.

And if your doctor recommends treatment, he simply calls a central number and is told what's available. Example, the man who came in with unusual abdominal pain and found out he had colon cancer.

“And that patient said 'oh my goodness I've got cancer but now the hospital is full of COVID. I'm gonna have to wait or I'm gonna have to go out of state or I'm gonna have to find health care somewhere else,'” Dr. Ross said.

With precautions being taken hourly, and a staff ready to help, here's how CHI St Vincent responded:

“No, this is an urgent condition that we need to operate on. Not only that, but we're gonna do it and we're gonna keep you and your family safe in the process,” Dr. Ross said.

COVID or not, if you're concerned see your primary care physician, don't put it off.

“People have gotten much more safe and much more comfortable with the steps that we've taken to keep them safe,” he said.