The COVID-19 brought unprecedented challenges in the provision of healthcare services and some have devised new ways to be creative to deliver care.
For instance, podiatrist David Armstrong faced Sophie’s Choice regarding whether he was to admit the patient to prevent another amputation and risk the patient getting COVID-19 or allow the patient to forgo surgery that could save by staying at home. The patient had undergone a partial bypass operation and foot amputation that left a big wound that was not getting better. Dr. Armstrong explained that the wound was deteriorating and it required care.
Amputations increased during the pandemic
Just like Dr. Armstrong, several other healthcare providers have tried to be creative during the pandemic which has reshaped the medical care delivery routine. According to a recent study, since the start of the pandemic, people with diabetes have become ten times more likely to require an amputation. The study considered hospitalized diabetic patients and established that compared to before the pandemic, the patients were more likely to need an amputation.
Similar results were also found from a study in Italy where diabetes patients were more likely to have amputations and gangrene. Since last winter, the total number of amputations has almost doubled. Researchers in the Netherlands established that there were more amputations in 2020 than the previous two years combined.
New innovative ways of care provision
During the pandemic, seeking care for most patients went by the wayside as patients avoided doctor’s offices and hospitals. There was an increase in telehealth appointments which meant few physical examinations. Emergency department visits due to uncomplicated diabetes dropped 15%.
The pandemic has reshaped cared delivery and has offered new innovative ways of treating patients. Diabetes patients now take “foot selfies” every day. Patients then send the photos to a secure server where doctors review the pictures in “foot selfie rounds”. A team of doctors will go through up to 100 photos in 15 minutes to identify those patients at risk. Also, patients can check the temperature of their feet through an infrared thermometer.