With any large scale and rushed sets of actions, there are both intended outcomes and unintended. The unintended can be either a major improvement over the previous circumstances, or just a new set of problems. Our national, state and local response to the COVID infections have generated some of each.
From the chiropractic side of things, the vast majority of my clients remained open as a provider of essential services. Most clinics initially ran on a skeleton crew with reduced hours, but not all. Even with the Screening and Cleaning protocols in place, most clinics ran at reasonable capacity, topping out at about 80% over the past week. Some clinics are in the 50-60% range, but are seeing increasing demand due to “deferred maintenance”.
The first unintended consequence is a nearly universal sense of gratitude from the patients that we are open and available to help them. No getting plunged into the hospital or urgent care system, no use of drugs, and safe and effective care for their complaints. The gratitude is across the board and a pleasant surprise.
The second unintended consequence is related to the patient sense of gratitude. It’s the renewed sense of purpose and mission, particularly in my more veteran clients. Many times, after years in practice the act of helping people becomes routine, and can become rote. Also, the myriad tasks that surround the delivery of care can take on a large and burdensome role. These last few week shave stripped most of that away, and we’re left with the reason we went into this field to begin with: the desire to help people. This may be temporary, as things open up, but it can serve as a wellspring for the future.
From the Allopathic side of things, it’s not so rosy.
The relentless assault on our senses through every news media platform and every governmental agency has had the effect of frightening people so much that they are not going into medical clinics or hospitals for many of the routine services provided for earlier. Many hospitals are essentially deserted, running on 20% capacity in order to deal with a COVID eruption that did not materialize in many regions. This varies widely across regions, as is common knowledge at this point. NYC is still on overload for example.
Perhaps this is because of quarantine, perhaps the virus was not quite as contagious or virulent as first feared. As far as I know, this is the first time healthy people have been quarantined, at least on this scale.
The unintended consequence of furloughing doctors and nurses, of rural health care facilities under significant financial stress, and of forgoing routine testing and screenings are not yet known, but will certainly become a part of the conversation over the next few months.
I am expecting to see an increase in demand for natural health services as more people are aware of and motivated to act on their baseline health, resistance to disease and highest functioning. It was there all along, we were just distracted!