Covid-19 fear keeps patients away from hospitals over treatment, ailments worsen

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With surge in cases of Covid-19 at the hospitals, people suffering from other diseases or infections kept distance from the hospitals with the fear of contracting Coronavirus. The move has been a hard one, as the virus persists and a few patients walk through the empty corridors of hospitals in the city of Bengaluru.

For instance, Rajesh, a 60-year old from Hebbal, was suffering from prostrate cancer stage 1 in March. Rajesh continuously avoided the hospitals though they had availability of non-Covid services. Presently, his cancer has advanced to further stages and aggravated.

Senior doctors from various hospitals have iterated that less people come to the hospitals, but those visiting have severe health issues, which were neglected due to the pandemic.

Dr Prasanna H M of Pristine, in-charge as the President of the Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association, on November 22, stated majority of the private hospitals have resumed non-Covid services or planning to restart services, though, there is a very meagre demand.

He said, “Private hospitals are reporting only 30% demand for healthcare related ailments as compared to pre-pandemic figures.” However, the doctor mentioned the figures are not an indication that people are in good health as the fear of Covid-19 is keeping people at bay.

He said, “They choose to turn up if there is an emergency.”

Rajesh’s physician Dr Suri Raju, Chief Urologist of Regal Hospital said, “In the months that passed, some non-Covid services resumed, but the patient did not return for treatment for nearly 6 months because of fear of Covid-19.”

He further added, “When he finally turned up this week, we found his illness had advanced to stage 3, This is just one case in many.”

Dr Yateesh Govindaiah, Assistant Head, Medical Services for Apollo Hospitals (Karnataka) said the public consider hospitals as a source of Covid-19 infection. He said, “We need to restore the public’s confidence that hospital visits are safe. It is challenging. The entire medical ecosystem has been disturbed.”

Due to this, many small hospitals are suffering from financial problems. Dr Prasanna said PHANA is deliberating on immediate financial relief to smaller hospitals.

“We are trying to tap into the MSME stimulus package.” He said

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