Man! It’s lonely being a patient right now!

Yet another reason to hate what changes Covid has brought to the world. It seems like no aspect of our lives has gone unchanged or untouched. A lot of it has been inconvenience like not being able to go to concerts and having to wear masks everywhere, which a lot of us complain about, but yet our lives have still gone on. Other restrictions have been down right tragic like not being able to see loved ones for gatherings, accompany them to the doctor or even visit them in the hospital when they are sick. Even with some of the restrictions lifted or modified, it is a lonely lonely time to be a patient right now.

It is study proven that family support increases the likelihood of successful treatment and recovery, whether that be from surgery, addiction, or cancer. So, what have we done? We have completely eliminated that extra advantage with the Covid restrictions. I feel like we have failed patients because we didn’t even consider other options. Patients have had to go alone to complicated doctor appointments. We all know that it is always better to have more than one set of ears to listen, especially when it comes to complicated diagnoses and instructions. Patients have had to go through chemo treatments alone with no one to pass the time with. Sometimes those sessions last for 8 hours. For a while, patients were languishing in the hospital with no visitors, unless their case became terminal, at which point all communication opportunities and precious time were already gone and families experienced twice the loss: the loss of the loved one and the loss of the time they could have shared. When I was in the hospital in January, there were patients that had been on the oncology floor for almost a month with no visitors, fighting for their lives with no family support.

Back to reality. Of course, I understand the concern for spread of the virus and the potential consequences. But now we have rapid tests for covid. We could test visitors and assess for positivity in a potentially expedient manner. I know what you are going to say. The tests could be false negative. Yes that is true. Nothing is 100% fool proof and there could be risks. I understand how serious it is. However, my educated crystal ball says that we are going to look back on this time period and notice that recovery rates for all hospital-based illness went down by at least 25%. At this point, I am just not sure that the tradeoff has been worth it. None of those lonely patients will ever get that time back.

Dr. Katz

Leave a Reply