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Your Healthy Family: Hospitals and the doctor's office are a safe place, even now

Posted at 10:28 AM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 16:45:53-04

You may notice that many of our upcoming Your Healthy Family stories will be about the importance of not ignoring health issues – and how the COVID-19 pandemic has kept some from seeking medical care or routine screenings.

In our last story, [YHF: Doctors urge women not to put off mammograms] we talked about the importance of getting a mammogram and the national trend that women are not having them because of fears over contracting COVID-19 at the doctor’s office.

The importance of keeping up on your general health, perhaps, has never been more important. Underlying health issues, obesity, pre-existing conditions are all known to give COVID-19 an advantage in attacking you and opening you up to a more severe case of the illness should you get it.

Our hospitals and doctors’ office are safe places to go, yes even right now during this pandemic. It's a lesson illustrated in a story I brought you a couple of weeks ago about 19-year-old Lindsay Mase. [YHF: College student ends up hospitalized in isolation during pandemic] [YHF: UCHealth staff bridges isolation gap between mother and daughter]

Lindsay began having flu-like symptoms in late March and didn’t hesitate to call her doctor and be seen. Her primary care doctor monitored her closely for a few days, and when her blood oxygen levels began to drop, advised her to go to the emergency room.

Lindsay was seen at UCHealth Memorial Hospital North in Colorado Springs and was admitted under suspicion that she had COVID-19. She was kept in isolation, but her tests for coronavirus came back negative.

Lindsay’s mom Lisa says even in early April, as our hospitals were seeing a surge in COVID-19 patients, infectious disease doctors finally got to the bottom of what was wrong with Lindsay.

Lisa says, “They kept saying, ‘There were all these other illnesses before coronavirus came along, so we have to rule everything out.’ They did a relentless job in testing (her) for every single thing. Finally, Dr. Tiffany Cartner called in Dr. Thomas Hackenberg, who is an infectious disease specialist, and he was the one that said, ‘I think this might be a bacterial blood infection’ and that's what it turned out to be.”

And for Lindsay, being hospitalized during the early peak of COVID-19 cases here in southern Colorado and coming out the other side healthy has given her a new perspective on life and more.

Lindsay says, “I think I started to realize how fragile we are, and that we can't take life for granted. Something like this has turned into a massive life-altering event, and now I'm so grateful for the healthcare system.”

So make sure to use our healthcare system. Have your annual physical, your annual screenings when you're sick, check in with your doctor and be seen if needed. Go to the emergency room if you’re having an emergency and on the other end of the scale don't ignore aches and pains that won't go away. It’s often those small problems that turn into larger health issues.

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