A doctor's plea to patients: "We are here for you amid COVID-19 pandemic"

Published: Apr. 15, 2020 at 4:13 PM CDT
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Even though non-essential appointments have been rescheduled at clinics and hospitals across the state, one local doctor wants patients to know that physicians are still there for you even if it's not COVID-19 related.

"Despite the fact that many aspects of our lives have been put on hold. There's other things that just can't wait and we want our patients to know that we're able to take care of them," said Dr. Steve Schmidt, a plastic surgeon with BayCare Clinic.

Dr. Schmidt said patients have been extremely accepting of the need to postpone non-essential surgeries because of the pandemic. However, he said that doesn't mean they have to put up with pain alone.

Dr. Schmidt said just because a patient's pain level isn't worth a trip to the doctor right now, it could be in the future. For that reason alone, Dr. Schmidt said communication is key to helping patients decide what can wait and what can't.

"Don't let things get to the point where there's permanent harm," said Dr. Schmidt. "So how is a patient to know? That's what we go through all that training to learn, so that we can then help our patients understand what's going on."

Dr. Schmidt said he, along with many other physicians, are available via phone or virtual visit. He said the best way to 'screen' a patient is via video.

"There's so much that we learn from facial expressions and when a patient is talking, that helps us interpret what they're saying and we're able to deliver better quality care.," said Dr. Schmidt.

Dr. Schmidt said the technology is user friendly. His office will send a private, secure and safe link to your email or phone via text. All you have to do is click on it and he will be able to talk to you.

"We welcome our patients to use it and continue to their care, not just to suffer and think that only the people that are suffering from the virus, are the people that are getting health care," said Dr. Schmidt. "We're here to help our patients through this and if we can help relieve some anxiety in their lives because they're worrying about something that they think, 'Oh I can't get this taken care of right now,' then we're here to help."