Now is not the time to avoid seeing your doctor

The board of directors of the Alberta Medical Association has an important message for Albertans during the COVID-19 crisis.

Our job as doctors is to be here for you. Your job is to do what you can to stay healthy. That has been the theme of a social media campaign that we launched during the pandemic.

The campaign provides tips for safe practices, such as hand washing and social distancing. One element of staying healthy is remembering that if you need care from your doctor, we are here for you – at distance by phone or video, or even in-person if necessary. We will make it work.

We understand some things about Albertans. You don’t like to be a bother. You are independent. You naturally want to stay safe and avoid exposure to COVID. These are all good things – but you can do all of them and still take care of yourself.

We want to tell you that during the pandemic you shouldn’t hesitate to call your family physician, pediatrician, psychiatrist, cardiologist or any physician with whom you have an ongoing care relationship.

It’s more than OK to call us and we want you to, when you have a new health issue, or if you are just dealing with ongoing or chronic health concerns.

While we encourage all our patients to stay connected, it’s particularly important for those with chronic or multiple health issues.

We know from COVID-19 experience in other places that people with ongoing health conditions who tough it out at home and avoid seeking care, “until COVID-19 is over,” often end up becoming sicker.

Many end up in the emergency department or hospitalized later over things that could have been avoided, if their regular care had continued.

Please help us help you to prevent this from happening.

You know yourself better than anyone. If there’s something new, something has changed, or something that just doesn’t feel right, don’t delay.

Don’t wait for the pandemic to pass. Call your doctor. We don’t mind. And we are here for you. Always.

Dr. Christine P. Molnar, Edmonton

Dr. Christine P. Molnar is president of the Alberta Medical Association.

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