Kyle Green / AP
Last month, Chelsea Titus, a 40-year-old single mother in Boise, Idaho, needed surgery to remove the severe pain from endometriosis. But the existing hospitals are so full of CIVID-19 doctors who are not covered that doctors have told him to wait.
About 1 in 5 American households have had to delay delaying serious illnesses in the last few months, according to a recent election from the NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.
Titus, who works for a technology company from the home she shares with her husband, daughter and labradoodle Winston, underwent endometriosis surgery where doctors removed her uterus and ovary one. When the situation worsened again in September, the pain was excruciating.
“Sometimes it feels like I’m in a job,” he says.
Endometriosis affects millions of women in the US when meat usually grows inside the uterus and grows out of it.
If the first treatment Titus received did not work, he went to his telephone doctor.
“They said,” If the hospitals were not in their condition, I would have come for surgery today, “he recalls.
The safety nets are gone
The situation in Idaho hospitals has worsened. The facilities are so overcrowded with untreated COVID-19 patients that many can no longer operate normally. A number of hospitals deserve special care.
Chelsea Titus / Chelsea Titus / Boise State Public Radio
Jim Souza, chief physician at Boise General Hospital, St. Petersburg. Luke’s, describes his practice of being kept as a veil that allows doctors to perform professional ropes on a daily basis.
But now, “the nets are gone and people will fall to the ground with wires,” says Souza.
Idaho has one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccines in the United States.
“As cancer therapists, we are outraged,” says Drs. Dan Zuckerman, medical director of St. Luke’s Cancer Institute.
Zuckerman says his staff delays other breast cancer surgeries that can be maintained in the early stages and are treated with hormones.
“There are no guarantees with it,” he says, “and there will be other cancers that life can break.”
Zuckerman currently spends half of his day in the hospital helping his many colleagues and says he only sees half of the many patients in the clinic.
Across the city in Saint Alphonsus, a small Boise hospital, oncologist Scott Pierson says they have not had to stop any surgery – however.
But conventional cancer screening, such as colonoscopy, has been reversed.
“We’re already in a world where, if you look at the statistics, it’s up to the analysis,” Pierson says.
Manufacturers of pulmonologists who regularly perform pulmonary biopsies in Saint Alphonsus, for example, are currently wrapped up, he says, trying to seriously treat cases of COVID-19 in intensive care units.
Strict health care systems mean delayed care
Most Americans face a delay like Idaho, says Robert Blendon, a researcher at Harvard Chan School of Public Health.
“These numbers were much larger than we expected,” says Blendon, “and the difference in the delta changed what happened.”
A study she helped run found that about 1 in 5 US households reported not being able to get treatment for a serious illness in the past few months; many of them said they had had poor health because of that.
“This is the United States,” says Blendon. “You don’t expect people with a serious illness to say they aren’t seen to be looked after.”
These data, he says, show that health care systems need to improve their capacity in the face of the next disaster or major natural disaster.
While Boise-site hospitals are bursting with COVID-19 patients, they have also had an increase in demand from people who have been delayed in care during the epidemic.
Pierson and Zuckerman say they have seen more advanced cancers than usual that could have been diagnosed earlier; holding malignancies in the short term may have given patients a higher chance of survival, they say.
Pierson says he has advised patients that they may take a mild form of chemotherapy so they do not need a hospital bed if problems arise.
Meanwhile, although the severe pain Titus suffered from his endometriosis was severe, he says he could not have surgery anywhere in Boise to remove his remaining ovary.
Her brother took the initiative to hire a private jet to take her to the California Bay Area for treatment.
“I guess I could have flown a plane for sale, but it would have been very difficult and embarrassing because I, like, was screaming in pain,” he says.
After landing, Titus went to the emergency room and emergency room and talked to several doctors before finding a surgeon in the insurance network with an open calendar.
Hotel rooms, a rental car, and her airplane added up to thousands of dollars in cash — all of the surgeries she could have performed in a hospital a few minutes from her home during normal times.
She feels lucky to be able to get everything she did to get treatment.
“It breaks my heart that so many in Idaho couldn’t do it,” says Titus.
And even so, it had been two weeks after the onset of so much pain that he was able to find relief.
“It’s amazing how I’m feeling better,” she said two days after the surgery.
But circumstances have left him wondering how his friends and neighbors have refused to wear masks or get a COVID-19 injection they care about their community – and whether he has a place in the district as well.
“My husband and I used to say, ‘We’re not going to leave Idaho,’” says Titus. “We want it here. It’s an amazing place to stay, and we’ve been looking at buildings in other states – because this is not good.”