Dealing with contagious illnesses is nothing new. But in recent years, doctors’ offices have begun shifting how they deal with sick patients.
The idea seems obvious that people go to the doctor when they are sick. Still, many doctors are refusing to see patients who have an active infection because of fears they will spread it to other patients. The result is these sick people have to go to urgent care and emergency rooms, which creates a higher risk of mistakes occurring with care.
A bad situation
When doctors will not see sick patients, it puts a strain on other healthcare providers. If every doctor is sending people to the emergency room, it overwhelms the system. This is detrimental to everyone because it ties up ER resources that should go to people who have true medical emergencies.
When an emergency room becomes overwhelmed with an influx of patients, it increases the chances of errors. There is always the possibility that someone who is truly having a serious medical situation will not get care fast enough. That patient may suffer greatly because of delayed care or not receiving the proper attention from a staff who is stretched too thin.
Another problem is that the ER is a fast-moving place. When it is overflowing with patients, mistakes are more likely to happen. It could be patient mixups, medication errors or other oversights that occur because the staff are overworked, tired and juggling too many patients at one time.
There are serious risks when doctors’ offices begin to refuse to see ill patients. It could not only harm the people who they turn away but could also create a seriously hazardous environment within the larger healthcare system.