5 On Your Side

5 On Your Side: Why you shouldn't put off receiving medical care

Posted October 26, 2020 3:09 p.m. EDT
Updated October 26, 2020 6:39 p.m. EDT

— One woman who spoke to 5 On Your Side's Monica Laliberte recently is an example of why you shouldn't put off a doctor visit if you're experiencing symptoms of illness.

She ignored weeks of persistent back pain and shortness of breath.

"I felt that I wasn’t sick. I just didn’t want to go to the hospital and use up the resources," said Charley Bednarsh.

She's thankful for her trained therapy dog, who sensed something and started howling, constantly.

Charley finally called her doctor and went to the ER. There, she was shocked to learn that she had suffered a major heart attack.

The CDC says 4 in 10 adults have avoided medical care during the pandemic.

Those delays are leading to extra patients in local emergency departments.

Duke Health Officials told 5 On Your Side: "We continue to see high demand for ER services in part due to patients with delayed medical care for chronic and serious medical conditions."

Doctors note if treatment is delayed, potentially life-threatening conditions can be more dangerous than COVID-19.

If you’re unsure if you should go in for a screening test, office visit, checkup or procedure, call your doctor.

“They can let you know if you should come in or not. The same applies with contacting your kids’ pediatrician office about keeping up with vaccines,” said Kevin Loria with Consumer Reports.

Bednarsh wants others to realize that concerns about COVID exposure are not worth putting your life at risk.

“If you are experiencing anything that’s different, at least make the call,” urged Bednarsh.

Especially since doctor’s offices and hospitals are taking so many extra precautions to keep everyone safe.

Many offices do offer telehealth options, which is a very safe way to at least get a medical professional’s assessment.

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