The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in numerous unexpected changes in the health sector. The government and the public are looking to the medical field to generate a cure for the virus. At the same time, the health sector is straining to handle a large number of COVID-19 patients and acquire a vaccine. The virus unexpectedly attacked the health sector, resulting in numerous changes. The following are some of the changes that have taken place–and will take place–in the medical field due to the coronavirus.
Wearing PPEs and Masks in Hospitals
Initially, doctors and nurses would only put on white lab coats and a pair of gloves when handling patients. After the coronavirus outbreak, the new norm in hospitals is dressing in PPEs and N95 masks as a precaution measure. More so, the health personnel on the front line have to protect themselves, their families, and the unaffected patients.
A Low Number of Routine Visits
Patients are always visiting the hospital for checkups and screening. The health sector had to reschedule routine visits to reduce the number of people in hospitals. Moreover, the existing number of medical personnel is not enough to conduct numerous hospital services, since most of them have been shifted to help in managing coronavirus patients. The reschedule of routine visits may result in a post-COVID-19 era characterized by an increased number of various illnesses.
Financial Constraints in Medical Centers
Medical facilities are experiencing constraints as they try to manage the pandemic. Most private hospitals are experiencing losses due to canceled hospital services. Also, hospitals have been forced to incur additional costs to purchase PPEs, among other requirements, to manage the virus. Public hospitals have incurred surplus expenses as they are paying additional medical support staff to help. Screening of the hospital attendees has also been introduced to help control and isolate the infected. This is all expensive in terms of purchasing enough screening equipment and reagents.
Most medical centers are strained due to the outbreak of the virus. They lack enough personnel to manage the increased number of COVID-19 patients. Moreover, the hospitals no longer have enough facilities to handle and isolate the sick. This has led to the establishment of home-based care that manages mildly ill patients at home. However, some medical facilities are still overwhelmed to the point that there are no more beds for newly sick patients.
The increased number of coronavirus patients has forced hospitals to close down other non- emergency services. This is done to preserve resources and supplies to be used in managing the pandemic. Some patients with other ailments are preferring to stay away from hospitals so as not to get affected. This trend may continue after the outbreak, whereby people will not visit the hospital when unwell.
Medical personnel, like doctors and nurses, have had their personal life affected. Some who used to work part-time are being forced to work full time. Others are being forced to work for long hours without breaks, which is overwhelming. In worse cases, some are struggling to work overtime at the expense of their family duties.
Extreme Pressure on the Health Sector
Coronavirus is a global pandemic that has negatively affected the economy. The only sector that has not reported significant lay off is the medical field. Other careers, from restaurant workers to stockbrokers to fitness PR reps, are also permanently altered. It’s all just a matter of degree. There is a lot of pressure for the health sector to generate a vaccine or a cure. The health sector is having a hard time conducting research and managing a large number of critically ill patients.
The Pandemic May Result to Emergence of PTSD among Health Workers
Health workers are struggling to help the infected in extreme working conditions. They keep showing up to work even when there are high risks of infections. On bad days, they watch numerous patients succumb to the virus. The entire process of trying to handle the pandemic is mentally and physically draining. These may later result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among medical personnel.
Medical Malpractice Cases Expected to Surge
Physician burnout along with hospitals that are ill-equipped for non-Covid patients can be a deadly cocktail. According to recent reports, the number medical malpractice claims has jumped during the pandemic and is expected to further climb. As a result, many professional groups have pushed for enhanced liability protections for their members during the ongoing health crisis.
These efforts have been met with fierce opposition, as patients’ literally fear for their own lives at the hands of overworked, negligent, or blatantly incompetent doctors with no means of recourse. Sure, a wrongful death lawyer offers plenty of support to the families of patients killed by medical negligence, but what if you are the one at the receiving end of a fatal medical intervention?
COVID-19 has dramatically affected the medical field resulting in numerous changes that will continue being experienced even after the pandemic has ended. There is likely to be a post-COVID-19 health preparedness era. Whereby health facilities and personnel will try and be prepared to deal with a similar outbreak in the future.