By Jon A. Peet, MD
We are coming up on the anniversary of COVID in the United States. I recall my own experience of being VERY ill at the end of February 2020 and blaming it on the flu. The going wisdom of the time steered most diagnoses away from COVID. This was a time before the media struck extreme fear into all of us and we knew much about COVID in the US. I continued to work throughout my illness, before COVID became a tagline. With a mask on, I provided needed care to my patients and overcame my illness.
This blog post is not about me. It is meant to put the COVID pandemic into perspective. I have fought hard to keep multiple practices open during the COVID pandemic. As a result, I have had to learn more about managing COVID in the medical workplace than I would typically care to know. The topics I consistently confront regarding COVID are misinformation and undue fear.
As a medical professional, I will not discount or trivialize the serious nature of the current pandemic. COVID is a potentially deadly viral infection that can have significant health implications. Reckless and uncontrolled behavior in regard to symptom monitoring, temperature checks and not wearing a mask are COMPLETELY unacceptable and should not be endorsed by ANYBODY.
However, LIFE MUST GO ON. There are necessary and needed events in our lives that should occur. Undue fear of contracting COVID should not prevent the majority of us in low risk populations from pursuing these events as local, state, and federal laws allow.
In my practice, I have now seen thousands of patients since the beginning of the COVID pandemic. To date, three employees have contracted COVID. NONE of these employees have infections that are traceable to an office exposure. Also, NONE of these employees spread COVID to other employees or patients through contact tracing. What does this tell us?
Well planned and executed COVID protocols in a medical office setting are what make all the difference. When you go to your doctor’s office, medical spa, etc; you are entering a controlled environment where every possible precaution is taken to ensure the safety of everybody in the facility. Traffic is controlled, temperature checks are performed, questionnaires are answered, etc. This is not even remotely the same scenario presented in a shopping mall, foodstore, etc.
Nothing in life is absolute and our personal safety can NEVER be guaranteed. As a surgeon, I always assess risk vs benefit. I would NEVER do anything to unnecessarily endanger the safety of my family regarding COVID infection, yet I have been working (under precautions) since the beginning of the pandemic and coming home to my family every day. This includes working with no more protection than an approved face mask, immaculate hand washing, and well planned staff protocols for cleaning etc.
I am writing this blog to address the numerous concerns addressed by some patients not wanting to come into the office due to COVID concerns. I absolutely respect everybody's personal feelings on the topic of COVID and I feel that everybody should act in accordance to what makes them feel comfortable as an individual. Furthermore, everybody embraces risk differently and our individual tolerance for it varies.
I find, however, that too many people take an all or nothing approach when it comes to the COVID era. Far too many people lock themselves inside, away from the rest of society because they have an unrealistic outlook on the probability of infection with proper protective protocols in place. I feel these concerns are potentially justified in circumstances where situational control is not high; like a public park, shopping mall, etc. However, in a medical office setting, the circumstances are VERY different and much more controlled.
In a medical office: we never allow anyone to remain in the building unmasked, we require everyone to wash their hands upon entering, we temp check all patients and staff upon entering, we question everyone regarding symptoms, etc. Our track record on infection control speaks to this. Patients should have the confidence to venture safely out of their homes to seek the care they need and want.
According to our current laws, we will continue to provide needed care to our patients. We will not be lazy and give up on our business or workers because the COVID era has made it much more difficult to operate a medical spa successfully. We will instead recommit ourselves to our jobs, sharpen our determination and find ways to provide needed care to our patients.
We hope that you will safely join us at our beautiful facility in the heart of Newtown, Pennsylvania. You can have the confidence that not only are you receiving the best care available, but also receiving it safely with far less risk than getting your groceries.
Hope to see you soon,
Jon Peet, MD
La Maison House of Aesthetics