Laurel Medical Associates
13635 Baltimore Avenue
Laurel, MD 20707
Laurel Medical Associates at Silver Spring
11203-A Lockwood Drive
Silver Spring, MD 20901
How Telemedicine Saved a Life
The COVID virus has infected close to 10 million people across the world. Here in the U.S. 47 million people have been infected as the death toll continues to increase. Here in our state of Maryland 148,000 people have been infected and over four thousand people have been killed. As we reach further into winter and the flu season it is concerning that we have reached a level of 100,000 cases per day. It is helpful that we have a better understanding of the virus and how to prevent, diagnose and manage symptoms now almost a year into the fight.
In the early days we all were told to stay home and avoid the hospital in anticipation of incredible numbers of sick people flooding the hospital similar to what was happening in Europe. Many wondered how they could receive needed care and what they could or would do to receive health care. We did not have to look far for a way to receive access and healthcare safely. It was and is telemedicine, and with a few executive actions was ready to go.
Telemedicine is a convenient and safe service for you to receive health care services remotely with your phone, computer or other digital device. The service has been covered by some insurance companies and is very useful for many health care services. In addition to the safety, it is very convenient and easy to use. We have seen the 80-year-old use the service along with the 20-year-old. It truly has made a difference in the fight against COVID but sadly, not everyone may be taking advantage of this service.
There is one case that demonstrates how lives are being saved with telemedicine. A patient had worsening nasal congestion, runny nose, and cough that appeared to be related to his usually worsening seasonal allergy symptoms. This unfortunately was occurring at the time of COVID-19 and the peak of allergy season. Like many hard-working citizens, he was involved in a frontline profession that easily exposed him everyday to the virus we know as COVID-19.
As we looked at each other through the computer and went through a variety of questions it was not long before the magical question would help us make a very important diagnosis. He described how when he walked the stairs in his home he felt a little short of breath. This mild symptom along with the dilation of his eyeballs that portrayed his real inner fear was all that was needed for me to order a chest X-ray. Importantly, this X-ray would show a classic COVID pattern pneumonia that would lead to appropriate treatment and help to avoid almost certain complications and even worse.
Telemedicine can help save lives as we continue to experience this unprecedented pandemic. Check with your doctor to confirm it is available. Telemedicine saves lives, provides access, maintains safety and is convenient. Continue to avoid the virus by following the three W’s: Wash your hands, Wear a mask and Watch your distance.