Is It Safe to Return to Your Doctor?

With states opening up, the decision now lies with patients

Micheline Burger, a 72-year-old retired attorney who lives in Longmont, Colo., has put off many medical appointments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as her annual physical and dental exam and an important follow-up for an eye exam.

“I’ve had a cornea transplant, so I have to have the corneas checked regularly, but I delayed that from February to June,” says Burger. “I just haven’t felt comfortable going to doctors’ offices.”

Burger isn’t alone. A survey conducted by the American College of Emergency Physicians at the end of April indicated that a third of all Americans were delaying or avoiding medical treatment during the pandemic, including emergency care.

Dr. Madeline Y. Sutton recommends calling the office to learn exactly the precautions they are taking, which may answer your questions and put your mind at ease.

But with much of the country opening up, at least in phases, that trend might be starting to change.

Dr. Mitchell Josephs, a dentist practicing cosmetic and implant dentistry in Palm Beach, Fla., says only two people canceled appointments once the practice was allowed to re-open for non-emergency patients on May 4.

“We just had the busiest two weeks we’ve had in twenty-eight years,” says Josephs. “I think the more the state or city opens, the more confidence is built in the general public.”