Doctors seeing sicker patients as many are still hesitant to seek care


YORK, Pa. (WHTM) — More than a year into the pandemic, many doctors are concerned their patients aren’t getting medical help soon enough. It’s causing them to see more serious illnesses.

It could be due to fear of COVID or just an appointment that was forgotten about when everything was locked down, but doctors are seeing preventable diseases progress more quickly than usual.

“The things that we are seeing in the urgent care perspective are your mental health, your diabetes, your cardiovascular disease, and probably the last one we look at is cancer screening,” said Dr. Creston Tate, medical director of WellSpan Urgent Care.

Tate says it’s time to stop putting off routine screenings.

“We want to make sure that patients know that we’re actually probably in a safer environment within our outpatient world and also our inpatient hospital areas and emergency departments than we probably ever have been,” Tate said.

That’s because they’re cleaning things and sterilizing offices more than they ever have.

He’s concerned that people aren’t taking care of themselves, pointing to an October study from LANCET, a peer-reviewed medical journal.

“What they were seeing is that there’s like a 45-50% reduction in diagnosis of those big four that we talked about and then they were able to track that because of first-time prescription fills,” Tate said.

That includes diagnoses such as high cholesterol and diabetes.

“We’re going to see advanced illness in the next 12 months beyond what we’ve ever seen in previous years,” Tate said.

It’s not just adults. Tate encourages parents to get their kids to the pediatrician because delaying vaccinations and check-ups could hamper their growth.

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