TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Going to the doctor can be safe with precautions, says an East Texas physician, and is certainly safer than going without needed medical care.
Dr. Charles Gordon, a neurosurgeon at Precision Spine Care in Tyler urged East Texans not to forego seeking needed medical care out of a fear of contracting COVID-19, and said there are ways to stay safe.
“I think it is safe to go to the doctor right now,” Gordon said. “What we’ve found is that with the proper precautions – social distancing, wearing masks, and appropriate protection – it’s perfectly safe to see the doctor. And it’s better to see the doctor if you have a serious health issue than to stay at home and suffer in silence.”
For those who wish or need to see their doctor in person, Gordon said there are ways to make office visits safe.
“What we want to try to do is to minimize time in common areas like the waiting room,” he said. “So when you arrive, call in and let them know you’re there so they can escort you back and you don’t have to wait in a crowded waiting room. That’s what we’re trying to avoid.”
For those who are able, Gordon said telemedicine presents a good alternative to in-person visits.
“We have really great telemedicine platforms that allow us to deliver care remotely,” he said. “If a person has serious health conditions that require them to isolate, then I would advise that they use the technology we have available to get the care that they need in a safe manner. That involves using the phone and using video-conferencing.”
A number of his patients are using this method, he said, changing their scheduled in-person visits to remote “televisits” that allow face-to-face visits between physician and patient.
“We’ve had great success with (telemedicine),” he said. “We can see almost all of our patients online and virtually and have them avoid the waiting room entirely.”
Staying safe and taking proper precautions is key, Gordon said, whether going to the doctor’s office or to the grocery store.
“I have noticed when I’m out and about people lowering their guard, if you will,” he said. “I think it’s important that we all remain vigilant. This pandemic is not completely behind us at this point in time. We need to continue to be careful. There’s a growing body of evidence that if people wear the proper protection when they’re out, they can be very well protected.”
But Gordon said that taking precautions against the virus should not mean neglecting one’s health.
“What we are learning is that though this virus is scary, it can also be scary when people delay needed health care,” he said. “There’s been a sharp increase in people suffering from strokes and heart attacks because they’re afraid to go into the doctor’s office.
“So, yes, while we need to exercise appropriate care and caution, if you have serious concerns that you or a loved one are suffering from serious medical condition, then you need to get seen and get help.”