During a health crisis, hospitals rank their patients by most to least serious. So patients who have underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, might be neglected in favor of people with immediate medical emergencies. Over time, diabetes patients develop serious problems that could have been resolved months earlier. Hospitals in Massachusetts and elsewhere experienced increased rates of preventable amputations in patients who had chronic, long-term illnesses.
Increased rates of serious injuries
During a public crisis, people are faced with increased stress that leads to higher rates of accidents and injuries. In 2020 and 2021, the public health crisis increased the risk of a serious personal injury for every person in the U.S. Hospitals and doctors’ offices dealt with surges in the admissions of sick or dying patients, dwindling resources, etc. Many medical facilities restricted the number of patients they could see and did not always have the capacity to perform regular checkups or provide preventative care.
Lack of healthcare services for all patients
The rates of preventable amputations increased 49% by 2021 since last year. People with Type II diabetes and peripheral arterial disease (PAD) experienced the highest rates of amputations due to foot infections and other preventable health problems. As a result, fewer people could see their primary care physicians for checkups. Many people were afraid to step foot into hospitals where so many sick, contagious patients were being held. People who had underlying health conditions suffered the most as more of them needed medical emergencies.
In 2020 and 2021, the number of medical emergencies surged due to an ongoing health crisis. This made it difficult for people with severe health conditions to see their doctors for routine checkups and to obtain medication and other standard treatments. The number of preventable amputations surged as they were denied access to their standard medical treatments.