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Santa Barbara- S County

Cottage Health doctors seeing trend among sick people delaying medical care

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Doctors and medical staff at all three local Cottage Health Hospitals say they're seeing a disturbing health trend among people who are seriously ill and choosing to delay treatment.

All three local Cottage Hospitals are seeing seriously ill people delaying medical care.

"It worries us because it's safe to come to the hospital and delaying care for things that are medically treatable really shouldn't be happening," said Dr. Robin Malone, Chief of Staff at Goleta Valley Cottage Health.

Health and medical experts publicly addressed this about two months ago when a trend began to emerge with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"People are fearful," Malone said. 

Many local residents are concerned about catching the virus during a trip to the hospital so, in many cases, they're waiting until their symptoms become severe or acute before seeking medical care. Malone said this is happening at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, Goleta and Santa Ynez Valley, 

"I think we're seeing more severe cases of heart failure, strokes, infections that could've been easily treated or prevented from becoming worse. It just feels like we are seeing patients who are sicker than our normal population and a lot of that just comes with delaying the appropriate care."

Malone said she and her colleagues want the public to know it is safe to come to the hospital and that there are "great" infectious control measures in place for all types of care.

For more information about the Cottage Hospital closest to you, click the following link: https://www.cottagehealth.org/locations/

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Beth Farnsworth

Beth Farnsworth is the evening anchor for KEYT NewsChannel 3.