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Michiganders frustrated with lack of elective medical procedures due to COVID-19

Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– As clinics remain closed and more healthcare workers are laid off, many surgeries and other elective procedures are on hold. Patients and caretakers around the state say they’re trying to be patient, but some say they’re getting frustrated.

Norm Conant says his wife and father had to cancel procedures they needed in recent weeks.

“I understand the virus is very severe and things with it,” Conant says. “There’s also other issues that people, health issues that people have that need to be addressed too. We can’t stop the world…for one thing, then we lose all the other things.”

Conant says his wife, who works as an in-home caregiver, is still working while she waits to see a doctor about bone spurs in her feet.

“She’s in a lot of pain. Every night she’s like icing her foot just trying to get around.”

It’s not just weighing on physical health. Kathleen Armstrong, a Lansing native, says her son with Type 1 Diabetes hasn’t gotten the gallbladder removal surgery he needs, along with other procedures for different health issues. As his caregiver, it’s taking a toll on her mental health.

“I have anxiety and some depression, and we just really need to get back to living our lives.”

Doctors want patients to know it won’t last forever. Karen Kent Van Gorder, the Chief Medical Officer at Sparrow Hospital, says Michigan’s healthcare system has spent the last several weeks adjusting to COVID-19 and establishing how to keep infection rates low while treating patients.

“I think healthcare systems have figured out how to do that,” she says, “how to keep healthcare workers from becoming part of the COVID problem both in getting sick and spreading it around to their families and to their patients. And so as we have figured out COVID, we now can take care of other diseases in a world that still includes COVID.

She says the goal moving forward will be to schedule time-sensitive procedures more quickly than purely elective procedures.

“Right now, those time-sensitive procedures, I think that the state’s healthcare systems are ready to go back to taking care of all of the patients.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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