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The top 5 medical services not to delay receiving during the pandemic

Don’t delay your healthcare services any longer. Now is the time to schedule appointments.


Hospitals and other medical services providers across the metro Detroit area have noticed an alarming trend over the past several months: Patients are waiting much longer than they normally would to receive medical treatment.

“Delaying essential procedures can have a ripple effect throughout your entire body and on your overall health and wellness,” said Dr. Anthony Patsy of Memorial Healthcare Family Medicine in Owosso. “You may think you can deal with the pain, but increased levels or extended periods of pain can negatively impact your mental health at a time when our mental health is already strained from pandemic-related factors.”

As examples of medical issues that can become worse over time, Patsy pointed to how a urinary tract infection left untreated could lead to a kidney infection; lacerations, wounds and burns not properly treated could lead to sepsis — the body’s response to an infection where it damages its own tissues; or, in the case of a stroke, every second delayed could lead to increased brain damage.

“There’s a concern that going to the ER or scheduling annual medical exams is putting patients at risk of contracting COVID-19 when that’s simply not the case,” said Cassie Kotlarczyk, registered nurse, emergency medical technician and director of emergency services for Memorial Healthcare. “At Memorial Healthcare, for example, we are going above and beyond recommended guidelines to ensure the safety of our patients and protect them against COVID-19.”

With that in mind, here are five medical services that should not be delayed:



Memorial Healthcare offers services ranging from primary care for the whole family to specialty care in areas such as neurology and endocrinology.


Mammograms and colonoscopies

These annual exams are crucial for detecting cancer at early stages in adults — leading to significantly higher survival rates.

In fact, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, “when breast cancer is detected early, and is in the localized stage, the five-year relative survival rate is 99%.”

Similarly, for colorectal cancer detected at an early stage, the five-year relative survival rate is about 90%. Unfortunately, only 40% of colorectal cancers are identified at this stage, according to the American Cancer Society.

Patsy did note there have been some concerns with side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines being mistaken for breast cancer on mammograms if the test is scheduled too closely to the time of vaccination.

“Don’t delay or cancel a mammogram,” he said. “Consult with your primary care physician for guidance.”

Mental health

The pandemic has taken a mental and emotional toll on many, but particularly on adolescents whose routines and social lives have been continuously upended and who don’t necessarily have the emotional maturity to handle the stress.

For those struggling to cope — or if stress, anxiety or depression get in the way of daily activities for several days in a row — call a medical professional. In extreme times of stress, seek out care at an emergency department or contact a confidential crisis resource, like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Chronic condition management

Many chronic medical conditions are preventable and/or manageable through lifestyle changes. However, those adjustments should be implemented with guidance from a medical professional and monitored for any changes in condition that may impact or alter the treatment plan.

Lab and imaging studies

CT scans, MRIs, X-rays and biopsies are all examples of lab work or imaging that should not be delayed. Immediately consult a health care professional in cases of head trauma, pain that hasn’t decreased or subsided in more than a week, or symptoms consistent with a stroke or heart attack.

Well-visits and immunizations

Annual physicals and well-visits are a chance to have frank one-on-one conversations with a primary care provider about the status of one’s health, goals and any noticeable changes to the body. It also creates an opportunity to get any necessary tests that may uncover issues that can help people maintain the best version of themselves.

Whenever in doubt about whether to seek medical attention, consult with a primary care provider first.

Urgent care clinics are also an option, and many practices now offer telehealth so patients can meet with their physician over a computer or smartphone to discuss medical issues without having to go into the office.

The pandemic has created a lot of uncertainty, but one’s health, wellness and overall well-being must be a priority. Waiting to receive much-needed medical attention can only make matters worse.

Now is the time to prioritize your health. Visit memorialhealthcare.org to learn more about its world-class services and care.

Members of the editorial and news staff of The Detroit News were not involved in the creation of this content.

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