OCEAN COUNTY – News of COVID-19 can be really frightening, but doctors are telling the public that they shouldn’t let that stop them from taking care of needed medical issues.
The story that illustrates this is of Patrick Maloney, an 83-year-old living in Whiting. He had a double-bypass and aortic valve replacement at Deborah Heart and Lung three years ago. A former smoker, he had a rough time in recovery. It took four months before he was able to come home. Family was there to greet him on his arrival.
When coronavirus started spreading, he started cancelling doctor appointments.
“I didn’t realize that grandpa began cancelling his doctor appointments,” said his granddaughter Ally Maloney. “He was too scared of the virus.”
By Memorial Day, he had become too sick. He was out of breath and had no appetite. When Patrick’s wife Beverly called Ally from her Cedar Glen Lakes home in Whiting, Ally was frantic.
He went back to Deborah. He needed a stent. But he also had an infection, low blood pressure and erratic kidney function, which was also frightening for the family.
“I had to come to the hospital, but there were no visitors allowed. It was so hard,” Ally said.
Patrick rallied in time to celebrate his June 4 birthday.
“The nurses were great! My uncle, grandma and myself drove his 1930 Model A ‘Old Nell’ to the hospital. The staff decorated his room and taped a message to us from his window. They moved his bed over so he could see us and his car and helped us face time him,” she said. “It was wonderful!”
Ally, who fully expects her grandpa to be her ring bearer – and her grandma to be a flower girl – at her wedding in October, has some advice for patients too scared to go back to their doctor: “Even if you feel nervous, don’t hesitate to make a call. If it weren’t safe, the hospital wouldn’t be open. This could potentially save your life.”
Mark Moshiyakhov, MD, Director of Deborah’s Medical Intensive Care Unit agreed: “We are worried that we will see more patients like Mr. Maloney who waited too long to get their care. We urge our patients to make their appointments now, before their conditions get worse.”