1 legacy of COVID-19 will be waves of later-stage cancer patients, says GI director

The COVID-19 pandemic changed society in several ways, seemingly overnight.

Prakash Gatta, MD, director of foregut surgery at Overlake Medical Center and Clinics in Bellevue, Wash., joined "Becker's ASC Review Podcast" to talk about what he thinks the pandemic's legacy will be on gastroenterology.

Note: This is an edited excerpt. Listen to the full podcast episode here.

Question: What do you think the lasting legacy will be of COVID 19? 

Dr. Prakash Gatta: I have two answers to that. I was personally affected by COVID-19. I contracted it in March of 2020. Having gone through that personally, and still affected to some degree and having never been a patient before, I've seen all these specialists and pulmonologists, primary care doctors, trying to understand how it has affected my body. 

I'm not sure what the long-term effect of that infection would be for me personally. The biggest thing I learned with COVID-19, as well as being in a hospital that was hammered, was the resilience, bravery and valor of the healthcare workforce. It has helped reenergize my belief in this profession as a calling. 

Professionally, I think the legacy will be, for example, we are going to see a wave of patients with cancer at a later stage than we normally would've. I'm hopeful that we will settle back down, and I don't think the new normal will ever be like the old normal. We will never be the same again. 

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