Reopening California: SoCal doctor explains why it's critical hospitals reopen for diagnostic screenings, surgeries

As California begins to plot out phase two of the coronavirus pandemic, what does this means for non-coronavirus medical issues, such as mammogram screenings and colonoscopies? A SoCal doctor explains why hospitals should reopen for these crucial matters.
While testing is becoming more widespread, where do we need to be in order to open things up again? And as hospitals open back up for elective surgeries, what do patients need to know to feel safe?

Dr. Anthony Cardillo, ER specialist and CEO of Mend Urgent Care, joined ABC7 via Skype to share his perspective.

Some experts are still concerned that a negative antibody test will give someone a false sense of security. Can you explain why?
"The antibody test has caused a lot of confusion. A lot more complex than just a swab telling you you're positive or negative. So, a negative antibody test will not tell you if you have the infection or don't have the infection. If you get a negative result back, you can still be a carrier, or you just haven't had enough time to build the antibody. So it can be 7 to 10 days or two weeks before you actually build an antibody response. So a negative antibody test doesn't really tell you that you don't have the infection and likewise a positive test causes a lot of confusion, too. People are thinking 'Oh I have a positive test. I've been exposed to COVID,' I can go out free range to be exposed to whatever I want and that's just not the case. We do believe that the antibodies to confirm some immunity - we just don't know with 100% certainty. And we'd advise every person with a positive antibody test to be really cautious, really careful and still follow all the guidelines. Because you can get reinfected," said Cardillo.

What kinds of procedures will hospitals be doing now? Should people be concerned about getting them done? Should they put off something like a colonoscopy or knee replacement for a few months?
"Certainly, I think it's time we have to get those done. I think all the hospitals and outpatient surgical centers are doing a great job in really securing and making sure they're safe and ensuring that patients are not going to get infected. Let me tell you why. If people had gotten a colonoscopy or mammogram back in mid-March or early April and it was a positive finding, those patients would have already started their treatment and the surgical interventions. You have a lot of patients out there that have had a missed opportunity to have these diagnostic screenings tests done. So we're getting kind of worried that we're missing some critical disease processes. So certainly all of the screening tests we have to get back open in a lot of that elective procedures we have to get back on track and start getting those surgeries into the OR. Otherwise, we're gonna get backlogged to a point that people won't be able to have those surgeries at a reasonable time. So certainly, people should have the confidence in the medical system. We've all done a great job at all the hospitals and surgical centers to ensure everyone's safety. They are a safe environment and we have to get back to business when it comes to screenings and surgical procedures." said Cardillo.

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