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Colonoscopy During COVID

Part of our Cancer Doesn’t Wait for COVID - #ScreenSafelyMI series

Tom Boldrick

Tom Boldrick's doctor had to convince him it was riskier to delay his colonoscopy than have it during the COVID pandemic

Tom Boldrick admits it. He kept putting off that colonoscopy his doctor told him to schedule.

Then his sister had a colonoscopy, which revealed some fairly large polyps. They were not cancerous, but her doctors told her that had she waited another six months, it might have been a bigger problem.

“She told me that story and I said, you know what, I’ve got to stop being stupid,” says Boldrick, 59. He made an appointment at Michigan Medicine for a colonoscopy in April. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit, and Michigan Medicine stopped non-emergency procedures to create more capacity for COVID-19 cases and ensure the safety of all patients and visitors. This included canceling or rescheduling around 3,000 colonoscopies.

Boldrick’s appointment was rescheduled twice before it finally came up. At that point, COVID cases were declining in Michigan and Boldrick knew it was time.

“It was overdue. I got the results back, and they found something. It wasn’t cancerous, but it puts me in a spot where they want to see me every five years now (instead of 10). I’m a diabetic. I can’t mess with my health. That’s the reason I did this,” he says.

The coronavirus was on his mind. Boldrick talked to his sister, who works in health care, about whether it was safe. At another doctor’s appointment, he asked his provider about safety. In the end, he felt confident coming to Michigan Medicine.

On site, he saw social distancing in the waiting room and extra temperature checks for patients and visitors. “I knew they had additional procedures to ensure everyone was OK,” he says.

Boldrick’s bigger worry was in thinking about his sister’s colonoscopy results. It gave him the push he needed.

“It’s important to have regular health screenings, especially as you get older,” he says. “These guidelines were not made up willy-nilly. If you wait too long, sometimes it can be too late.”

Continue reading our Cancer Doesn’t Wait for COVID - #ScreenSafelyMI series

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