MILWAUKEE — Another side effect of COVID-19 — doctors say kids may not be getting the routine or emergency medical care they need due to their parents' fear of taking them to the hospital.
"There was a case where a child had a burn injury, and that child was not brought into the emergency room for a couple of days," said Dr. David Margolis, a specialist in Pediatrics at Children's Wisconsin.
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Dr. Margolis wants everyone to know that the message has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic first began in March. He says there's more understanding of the virus now, and how to work around it.
"Early on, there was a lot of messaging to stay home," Dr. Margolis said. "We did not want to overload emergency rooms or doctor's offices. But it's time to safely start getting more medical care, besides what we were doing earlier, which was only emergencies. We're able to provide safer care now. Please don't hesitate to call your doctor."
Dr. Margolis also wants to make sure preventative care and check-ups aren't ignored. With so much focus on a COVID-19 vaccine, he says there's new evidence showing not as many children are getting their regular vaccinations right now.
"We don't want to have this unintended consequence of, God forbid, a measles epidemic, or a resurgence of things like polio or pertussis," he said.
According to Dr. Margolis, all Children's Wisconsin personnel are wearing masks and distancing as much as possible. There are safeguards in place when it comes to waiting rooms and appointment scheduling. Also, any children showing coronavirus symptoms, or who need to be admitted into the hospital, will be tested for COVID-19.
Kaleena Nuedling was nervous when she had to take her 9-year-old daughter, Zoe, to an urgent care facility this week. Zoe was at home doing a craft project when she accidentally poked herself in the eye with a pair of scissors.
"Deep down inside, right when it happened, I didn't want to have to take her," Nuedling said.
Especially because Zoe has an underlying medical condition, she's already had three open-heart surgeries. But Nuedling knew Zoe was in pain and needed to see a doctor.
"If Zoe gets sick, her heart has to fight even harder," Nuedling said. "So any possible exposure to the coronavirus has scared us a lot."
Nuedling called ahead and was given instructions on how to arrive at Children's Wisconsin Urgent Care Clinic in New Berlin.
"They gave us a general time to show up, and told us not to come any earlier than 10 minutes," Nuedling said. "They advised us to wait in our car if we arrived earlier. There was a person greeting us at the door in PPE. She checked us in, and then we went to a counter that was pretty much completely wrapped in plastic. Everyone, including us, wore masks. Overall, it was a lot safer than I imagined."
Nuedling and Zoe are now sharing Dr. Margolis's message: try not to let fear prevent you from getting the medical care you may need.
"We were definitely pretty surprised at how little contact we had with anyone," Nuedling said. "They explained everything and told us why they were doing things every step of the way."