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Persistence Pays Off: Colonoscopy and COVID

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

Beth Pauley

Overcoming loss of insurance and cancellations due to the COVID shut-down, Beth Pauley finally gets her colonoscopy

The third time was a charm for Beth Pauley, 52. She had a colonoscopy scheduled about a year ago, but lost her insurance about two weeks before the appointment and had to cancel. With new insurance, she scheduled another one for March. Again, about two weeks before the appointment, it was canceled -- this time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

From mid-March till mid-June, to create more capacity to handle COVID-19 cases, Michigan Medicine stopped all other non-emergency procedures. This included canceling or rescheduling around 3,000 colonoscopies.

Pauley was rescheduled for July 7, an appointment she gladly took. For her, it was a matter of weighing what she needed to do for her health against her potential risk of COVID-19.

“I had been having an issue for about a year and a half. I felt OK going ahead with the colonoscopy because I really wanted to know what was wrong with me,” Pauley says.

Michigan Medicine requires patients have a COVID test before any procedure. Pauley’s was negative. Once in the medical procedure unit, Pauley felt the environment was safe.

“All the medical professionals seemed very aware of safety -- they disinfected their hands, they had masks on. The unit was not packed. They used only every other bed and kept the curtains closed. I thought they did a really good job,” Pauley says.

Her colonoscopy revealed two polyps, one in her stomach and one in her intestine, but no sign of cancer. The polyps were fairly large, one needing to be stitched closed. While she does not think this explained her original symptoms, she was relieved to have them removed.

“The medical people are taking it seriously, they’re wearing masks and making sure they’re disinfected. If you don’t have anything that puts you at a high risk for COVID, as long as you wear your mask and do the social distancing, there’s not too much to fear,” Pauley says.

To schedule a colonoscopy at Michigan Medicine, call 877-758-2626.

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

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