Doctor takes practice on the road to protect elderly patients from COVID-19

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WHEELING, W. Va. (WTRF) – As the coronavirus threat continues, a West Virginia doctor has decided the best way to keep his elderly patients safe is by making house calls.

“My first patient in my house calls this morning was a 93-year-old who had coronary artery disease. He’d had a heart attack, had bypass, he had Alzheimers, he had hypertension and he was in a wheelchair,” said Dr. Vic Wood, with Doctors Urgent Care in St. Clairsville, Ohio, and Wheeling, West Virginia.

So, the doctor went to the patient. And that was after purchasing two vans for his visits.

Wood says he went on house calls as a child with his late father, Dr. Norman Wood.

“We would go in there and they just treated you like family. They really appreciated you coming,” Wood said.

And he’s learning that the patients still do. The biggest change, he noted, is the medical bag.

“My bag isn’t 18 inches long now. It’s 3 feet long and a foot thick because you have all this technology to take with you,” Wood said.

Two days after Wood announced his plan, he had 105,000 hits on social media.

“There’s a real need out there. And I certainly hope that other providers and other doctors pick up on this model and go to the patient. Things are changing. And they’re probably gonna change forever,” he said.

Though the driving force behind his house calls is to protect the elderly from COVID-19 exposure, Wood thinks the house calls may outlast the virus.

“With the necessary precautions, we’re going to get through this. And this virus will burn itself out. I don’t know how long it will take, but it will. And we’ll get through it,” he said. “But for now, we’re going to go see the patients at their house. And we will probably continue that, long after this virus is gone.”

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