My friend Carol, who lives in the UK, says her brother, who had a heart condition, knew he needed to see a doctor. But he couldn't get into see a doctor because the National Health Service is too overwhelmed with treating COVID patients.
She says he got appointments. But time after time the doctor canceled. It was worrisome to her brother and the family. But they knew they had no recourse but to wait and hope for another one.
Then, one night a couple months ago, Carol's brother died in his sleep. And now she's wondering if the same thing will happen to her.
Carol has a lung condition. And is suffering from kidney failure. And, like her brother, she's having a hard time getting in to see a doctor.
She is not alone.
Research shows that a majority of Britons with diabetes or high blood pressure had their appointments canceled by the NHS. In fact, almost two-thirds of Britons with common life-threatening conditions have been denied service because of the pandemic.
What's worse, Carol says, are blanket do not resuscitate orders for some COVID patients in nursing homes, leading to potentially unavoidable deaths. Not only are they on DNR lists, but Carol says, many of them don't even know it.
And if you think sending COVID patients into nursing homes is a controversial policy limited to New York and Michigan, think again.
It's a problem in the United Kingdom as well. Where untested patients were transferred from hospitals to nursing homes. A practice some members of Parliament label as ''reckless."
There was and perhaps still is a debate in the United States about how COVID deaths are counted. Some argue the numbers are inflated, and indeed, there have been examples of people dying from other causes, such as the celebrated case of a Florida man who died in a motorcycle accident. His death was incorrectly attributed to COVID.
But what do we make of folks who may have died, not from COVID, but because they couldn't get treatment for their ailments because of the pandemic? Do we attribute Carol's brother's death to his chronic health condition? Or is COVID, and the inability of the NHS to properly treat him, equally to blame?