COVID-19 has kept many patients from seeing their health care providers. Some of this is due to people’s reluctance to visit their doctor’s office even for essential follow up care or for surgery.
It’s important that patients continue scheduling and undergoing surgical procedures, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, says Dr. Carl A. DiRaimondo, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine provider with Orthopedics & Sports Medicine BayCare Clinic-Manitowoc.
That especially holds true if patients have been trying to self-manage their orthopedic-related pain, discomfort and functionality issues while waiting for COVID-19 fears to lessen.
“The concern is, if a patient waits on a condition … what will their outcome be if they wait too long? That’s always the hard part,” DiRaimondo says. “They’re concerned on one end, but can they live with their pain or dysfunction? How long can they put up with it?”
Time often plays a role in determining the likelihood that a person’s orthopedic condition will be resolved with a positive outcome, he says. “The longer you wait, the problem maybe becomes worse, the condition or the surgery may become more technically challenging.”
DiRaimondo and the surgeons with Orthopedics & Sports Medicine BayCare Clinic-Manitowoc follow safety protocols provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those protocols include guidelines on appropriate distancing, handwashing, sanitization and more.
“We in the health care profession are trying to follow the highest standards that we have available to us in safety, screening of patients,” DiRaimondo says. “None of us can tell a patient there’s still not some slight risk because that’s the nature of a respiratory virus – influenza, coronavirus, they’re out there.
“I would just tell someone that if they have a condition (and), they can live with it and they’re still functioning, then they’re probably fine,” he says. “If that condition is deteriorating, it’s affecting their function, it’s affecting their quality of life, they’re requiring medications to manage pain – that have their own side effects – that’s not the right way to handle it.”