Patients refusing COVID 19 testsFriday, October 15, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica— Many patients are refusing to do COVID 19 tests, even when they have obvious symptoms, some doctors have reported.
The doctors say the patients’ unwillingness to be tested stems from a number of factors.
Dr Arna Morgan, a general practitioner, told OBSERVER ONLINE that some patients do not want their names and locations to be known by the Ministry of Health and Wellness or their information to go on government records.
Dr Morgan said some people believe their names will be made public, while others say they do not want anything to be pushed up their noses.
“Education is needed,” Dr Morgan said, “Private doctors have to gradually be convincing their patients to do the tests.”
Dr Morgan related one situation where she was treating several people from a household for COVID-19. She shared that despite everyone else doing the test and getting a positive result, one member, who had the same symptoms as everyone, refused to be tested.
Dr Donald Gordon, another general practitioner, said many of his patients have indicated that cost is the biggest factor for them not doing the COVID-19 test.
“Some of them really can’t afford it,” he said, “Then if they go to do the (free) test at the clinic, they have to wait sometimes weeks before getting the results.”
Dr Gordon said for some people there seems to be a stigma attached to taking the test. He said for others the decision is economical as they cannot afford to be off from work while some just do not want to know if they have the disease.
While doctors cannot force patients to take the test, they usually prescribe them medications and advise them to self-isolate.
Another physician, Dr William Brown, said any patient coming to see him is thoroughly checked and, if need be, told to do a COVID-19 test before they can be seen.
Dr Melody Ennis, Director of Family Health Services in the ministry, told OBSERVER ONLINE that while they have no official reports they have heard of many people refusing to do the COVID-19 test.
“We have to continue to educate people so they will understand,” she said.
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