Ready, Safe and Open
December 04, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the postponement of many things – weddings, vacations, sports. But one thing you should not postpone is an elective health care procedure. “People should not delay care during this pandemic because their health could deteriorate,” says Cy Haatvedt, MD, a general surgeon at Huron Regional Medical Center and partner at the Tschetter & Hohm Clinic. “That could result in some health problems becoming much worse.”
Keep Up With Chronic Care
For people who have diabetes, chronic kidney disease, heart disease or cancer, continuing care is especially important. “These sorts of illnesses require careful, ongoing management to avoid complications and worsening,” Dr. Haatvedt says. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association over the summer
found large increases in mortality from heart disease, diabetes and other diseases in the first few months of the pandemic. Although some of these deaths are
likely unreported COVID-19 fatalities, others are thought to be due to people not seeking care for chronic illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been tracking these excess deaths all year and, so far, South Dakota has not seen the numbers that other states have.
“I have not been seeing any specific conditions that seem to be worsening because of the pandemic,” Dr. Haatvedt says. “That’s because doctors in our area have been proactive about taking care of their patients.”
Steps to Keep You Safe
HRMC remains committed to ensuring our community members can safely access high-quality medical care close to home. The pandemic hasn’t changed that. Every person who enters one of our facilities is screened for symptoms, required to wear a mask and expected to adhere to our social distancing measures.
We also offer virtual visits for many types of care, however, in the event you do need to seek in-person care, you can feel confident knowing that your safety is top of mind. “The risk of contracting the coronavirus in a health care setting is quite small, and every effort is made to minimize that risk,” Dr. Haatvedt says. “In most situations, the risk of leaving a condition untreated is greater than the risk of contracting the coronavirus.”
Navigating Surgery During COVID-19
Lynn Schneider had surgery for an asymptomatic hernia scheduled for March – the same day all elective procedures had to be postponed due to the pandemic. Cy Haatvedt, MD, a general surgeon at Huron Regional Medical Center and partner at the Tschetter & Hohm Clinic, gave Schneider the information he needed to feel confident and safe in postponing his surgery. “I had no concerns about safety in rescheduling my procedure,” Schneider says. “I’m grateful for all of the care and precautions HRMC is taking for our community.”
Rob Rieger stopped going to physical therapy for his knee injury in March when the pandemic hit, hoping the pain would subside on its own. When July arrived and his pain was still present, Rieger sought care with Todd Anderson, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at HRMC Physicians Clinic. Dr. Anderson recommended arthroscopic surgery to repair what looked like a torn meniscus. Rieger was relieved to discover the pandemic didn’t have to delay his return to life with less pain.
“We discovered that damaged cartilage was causing the problem, not the meniscus,” Dr. Anderson explains. “I removed the damaged cartilage and the inflamed tissue. Rieger now has much more freedom of movement and less pain.”
Carpal Tunnel Surgery
George Geiger was suffering from pain and numbness in his fingers and thumb of his left hand after two decades of working in a steel factory. He was scheduled for nerve conduction testing in March, but it got postponed until May. Meanwhile, his pain got worse. Dr. Anderson scheduled Geiger’s carpal tunnel surgery for June, reassuring Geiger the procedure was both necessary to ease his pain and safe to go through with. “I’m almost back to normal now,” Geiger says. “And the COVID-19 testing before the procedure helped me feel safe and confident in coming in.” (For more information about carpal tunnel syndrome, see the story Pain in the Wrist.)
Learn more about how HRMC is keeping you safe at www.huronregional.org/covid-19-information.
Back to News Listing | Subscribe to News Alerts | Back to Blogs | Back to Girl Talk Blogs