While some states are lifting restrictions that were put in place to fight the spread of COVID-19, emergency rooms around the country continue to be overwhelmed by new and existing cases of the coronavirus. So where does that leave people who show no sign of the virus but need emergent care to address medical issues?
Yahoo Life spoke with New York-based plastic surgeon, Dr. Kevin Tehrani, who is placing cosmetic surgeries on hold, making his ambulatory surgical centers available to overtaxed ERs.
“Since the COVID shutdown, we transformed...to an emergency care center. That’s emergency surgical care center for patients that may have lacerations or cuts, may have wounds or infections, bleeding issues, skin graft issues, more reconstructive elements that are not aesthetic in nature,” Dr. Tehrani tells Yahoo Life. “We’ve tried to offload the need for those non-COVID patients to go to the emergency room to try and take care of their issues in the office.”
Tehrani explains that patients will be assessed during a telehealth session to determine the next steps in care. They are also asked to answer a pre-surgical COVID-19 screening questionnaire to make sure that they haven’t come into contact with the virus.
Should the virtual appointment result in a trip to the doctor’s office, people should expect to be met with practices designed to keep staff and patients safe. “Patients coming in are going to be, first of all they’re coming with their mask. They’ll be greeted with my nurse or my surgical tech. We have protective equipment as well as temperature checks with our floor camera that will be able to check them before they even walk into the office,” Tehrani says.
Which is welcome news for people like mom, Alison Merel, who are anxious about heading to their local hospital fearing exposure to the coronavirus.
“My daughter, who is the most careful child there is, just tripped over her own feet and she fell into a trunk by my bed, and there was just lots of bleeding,” Merel says. “We couldn’t go to the emergency room. It was the height of the coronavirus when this happened, when the emergency rooms were just overflooded with patients. And it was just so nice to be able to have this option.”
Tehrani, who is also offering both COVID-19 testing and antibody testing at his practice as well, is hopeful that other health care providers will offer up their private practices to provide emergent care until the need no longer exists.
“I felt the need to be involved in this crisis and be able to do my part to help patients in need,” Tehrani says. “I think we all are in this to help our colleagues in the emergency room.”
For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC’s and WHO’s resource guides.
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