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Pediatricians Find Alternatives To Keep Treating Colorado Children During Coronavirus Pandemic

LONE TREE, Colo. (CBS4) - Some health professionals say parents trying to decide whether to keep regular doctor appointments, shouldn't be afraid to check in. Now, more physicians are finding alternative ways to make appointments happen.

"It's interesting because I have not talked to a single physician who has not wanted to step up and take care of things," said Dr. Ted Stathos, founding member of Rocky Mountain Pediatric Gastroenterology.

Over the past two weeks, Stathos says he's been busier than he has in his entire career, but he calls it a success. Since offering telemedicine, he's been able to reach more patients with growing fears.

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Dr. Ted Stathos (credit: CBS)

"We're a supporting crew that can make sure that those patients aren't going to the ER for something else," said Stathos.

For Stathos in particular, many of his patients have underlying conditions but even if they're healthy, he says it's important they keep appointments so he can make sure they stay that way.

"We have to make sure our children are staying healthy because if even though we don't know how it's affecting them directly, we know that they're not immune to the virus. It's just in how their immune system is reacting to it that's keeping them from being severely ill," he continued. "But again, if we have children that are immuno-compromised or already sick with something else, I have a feeling that this is going to be very difficult for those patients."

Stathos says there are 11 providers he works alongside that have all made adjustments.

Rocky Mountain Pediatric GI outlined four new ways it is still trying to provide care:

  1. Regular Office Visit: To keep your appointment as usual, the front door will be propped open, check-in at the front desk and have a seat in the waiting room.
  2. Antiseptic solution for your hands and masks for your face will be available for your use.
  3. Concierge Visit: If you prefer to check-in by phone and wait in your car until you are seen
  4. Drive-up Triage Visit: If your child is severely ill or immuno-compromised
  5.  Telemedicine Visit

"This is a time where everyone is very worried about what's gonna happen next and I think it's a good touchstone to have a doctor that you've had in your life for quite a while or, we have 11 providers here and I think they're all incredibly wonderful people and are willing to provide that other service for families."

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(credit: CBS)

He says many parents are worried they will overburden physicians but that's the opposite reaction Stathos wants.

"If they're nervous or they're scared, it doesn't have to be about my particular specialty that they have to talk to us about it can be about pretty much anything and we'll try to help them through it."

He wants to make sure parents aren't letting issues go unchecked. Even if it's a simple question about COVID-19.

"We're doing a lot of explanations about the new coronavirus. Giving out lots of information, especially for the ones [children] who are immuno-compromised or sick so they know what to look for."

Stathos says while he's had to adjust treating patients, things like telemedicine has its advantages.

"I think like most things in life it's an evolutionary process and in this case I think the evolution is going to be in a positive direction for medicine."

While fears around the virus means Stathos is talking to patients until 9:30 at night most evenings, he says, this is what he signed up for.

"You've got to answer the bell and take care of patients in the best ways that you know how to."

RELATED: Latest Updates On The Coronavirus Outbreak In Colorado

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