Unprecedented to say the least!!
As a gynecologist, practicing in today's corona virus pandemic, I find that every day we are learning more and changing the rules and recommendations. It is quite certain, at this point, that the worst is yet to come.
We encourage patients not to come into the office unless their problem is urgent. We are seeing our obstetrical patients, but even the frequency of those visits may be cut back.
We have delayed non-urgent surgical procedures. You do not want to visit the hospital unless necessary.
Currently we can do quite a bit of monitoring from home. You can check your vital signs: blood pressure and pulse with a blood pressure apparatus available at any pharmacy. You can take your temperature, weight, and even do an EKG on your cell phone now. This is the future and can help your doctor treat you remotely.
So when should you come in to the office? In our practice, we have encouraged patients to call and speak to the doctor before coming in to the office. Many doctors offices are initiating telemedicine appointments. Telemedicine is a secure, video conference, that addresses the medical complaint, and attempts to manage it without a visit to the office.
What types of visits are appropriate for telemedicine?
Evaluation of bladder and vaginal infections, discussing menopausal treatements, hormone therapy, osteoporosis treatment, infertility, and other types of follow-up visits are appropriate. A telemedicine appointment is a great way to perform an initial evaluation, decide if tests need to be done, and make a plan for when an office evaluaton is appropriate. Most doctors offices are open for patients that are ill, and appreciate the opportunity to continue caring for their patients remotely.
Do not plan to come in to the office if you have a cough, fever, or have been exposed to someone with the virus. Call your doctor first.
When you come in, wear a mask if you have one. Use hand sanitizer or wash your hands frequently. Practice social distancing in the office. Make your visit short and to the point. Do not bring a friend, spouse or significant other. This only increases the chances of exposure.
When should you come in? If you have a problem such as postmenopausal bleeding, a breast mass, severe abdominal pain, an exam may be appropriate. Call first, since it might save you a visit and an unnecessary exposure.
We are doing our best during this very difficult time. Be patient, but please take care of your health and call, so that we can help you.
Marilyn C. Jerome, MD
Foxhall OB-Gyn Assoiciates