Umm….since when are vaginas NOT essential?

I saw a meme the other day with a woman straddling a lap top computer and it read: The new face of gynecology. At first I totally laughed out loud, carefully distancing myself safely into the ” That’s so ridiculous.” response category. Then, I stopped and realized whoa? Are we that far off from that right now? The struggle to get on the list of essential businesses right now is real and we all want to get there, but who decides what is essential and what isn’t? There are some things that are black and white in regards to this decision…..or are they? Ice cream shops are not essential, unless you have that sudden, overwhelming craving or you are a pregnant woman and nothing else will do to go with your pickles. Paint shops are not essential, unless you were trying to finish painting your wall and ran out just prior to reaching the last quarter panel. Movie theaters are not essential, unless you are on your last nerve with multiple bored children and seeing a movie is literally the only thing that they are able to reach a consensus on. I realize that these examples are somewhat facetious, but you get what I mean about perspective right? I totally agree with social distancing and restricting interactions to essential ones to help flatten the curve and decrease the spread of this awful virus. I am just not sure that we are all on the same page regarding what is essential and what isn’t.

I hear lately that gynecology is not essential and that obgyns should only be seeing ob patients or patients with infections. WHAT?! HEH?! I guess that seeing ob patients is more of a black and white call since there are two humans involved and we cannot monitor them over the phone or perform ultrasounds…..or c sections, but why isn’t gynecology essential? Why aren’t vaginas important? I am living in fear of fines or getting reported right now as I continue to see gynecology patients( with a zillion precautions of course) that I deem to be essential. It’s all I know how to do. Gynecology patients still need care, COVID or no COVID. The key to the relatively high success rate of cure in gynecology is timely, proactive, and preventative diagnosis and we are removing that advantage all together by denoting gynecology as non-essential.

I have heard patients say that they were turned down by other offices when they called to make an appointment because they were having abnormal bleeding. I confess, I got them right in! To me, bleeding is essential! I have had to turn down multiple patients whose incontinence I am treating with our awesome in-office options because that is not considered essential. I am sorry, but not peeing on yourself uncontrollably seems very essential to me. I am not allowed to do gyn surgeries for right now unless life or limb is imminently threatened or cancer staging is affected. Well, how am I supposed to know if cancer staging is going to be affected if I can’t go in and look with hysteroscopy in the first place? I can’t make that call without all the information. What if doing that surgery would make a life or death difference and I just don’t realize it? In addition to that, if I wait until someone is bleeding to death( life or limb risk), it may be kinda too late to do anything about it. Just sayin. If we get a bad outcome in the end because of delay in care due to COVID, are we going to be able to use the COVID-19 defense in court? Do we think that patients will care that we had to hide behind COVID restrictions if they lose their own lives or the life of a loved one? I feel confident that the answer is no when this is all said and done. I feel like all of these delays are just a tiny sample of the reality of the socialized healthcare that people think they want because it sounds good on paper. Just something to think about. Have a great day everybody.

Dr. Katz