Doctors warn you should not skip your appointments

Reporter: Anika Henanger Writer: Jackie Winchester

To go or not to go? That’s the question many people with chronic diseases are toying with when it comes to regular doctor’s appointments.

Postponing health care needs for chronic conditions could land you in the emergency room, so doctors are begging you not to be afraid to get treatment if you need it.

Nicole Lacasse’s 11-year-old son lives with Type I diabetes, and they worry the coronavirus could make things worse.

“Everybody kept saying he’s auto-immune, he’s diabetic, this is really gonna hit him. He was hearing a lot of that and I think it was really scaring him,” she said.

Fear of going to the hospital is what Lee Health said is keeping people from getting help for serious non-coronavirus illnesses and injuries.

“Over the weekend there was an elderly woman who fell and injured herself… but they were hesitant to come to the hospital due to fears surrounding the coronavirus,” said Dr. Larry Antonucci, president and CEO of Lee Health.

That woman lay in bed for three days before finally going to the emergency room, where doctors found she had a broken hip.

“If we take care of that ahead of time, then we will not end up in an emergency situation in a moment when there is a need for those beds,” said Dr. Alejandro Perez-Trepichio, chief medical officer and internist with Millenium Physician Group.

He said now is the time to stay on top of your health care and not skip critical appointments.

“Call your doctor so your doctor and you can make that determination if it’s safe for you to leave your house and come or a visit, and if not, we will determine the technology, we will leverage the technology to do that,” Perez-Trepichio said.

You can also see about having your prescriptions delivered, or visiting with your doctor via a telehealth call.

“View this as a visit at home. We’re going back many years in which we were visiting in your house,” Perez-Trepichio said.

Lacasse said one of the best ways to manage worry is by taking care of your health.

“We want him to understand even though he has Type I diabetes, as long as he is controlled, he’s OK,” she said.

Lacasse said her son hasn’t left the house once, and they’re getting glucose monitors and insulin shipped directly to them.

If you have an emergency, Lee Health said they take precautions to separate patients with COVID-19 symptoms from those without, so you should not be afraid to come in if you have an emergency.

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