People staying at home to avoid exposure to COVID-19 may also be avoiding health checkups, so a New Hyde Park doctor is bringing his services to them.
Cardiologist Perry Frankel is using a 40-foot bus as a mobile medical unit to reach those who may not want to stray far from home these days. Frankel’s Advanced Cardiovascular Diagnostics team can perform most tests from the bus, he said, including blood pressure readings, lab work, electrocardiograms and stress tests.
For the past few years, Frankel has used the bus to reach high stress workers, such as police officers.
“When this all happened with coronavirus, I said, 'I can’t do these large groups anymore,' ” he said. “So I decided, 'well people can’t get to doctor’s offices now and heart disease is killing hundreds more people than coronavirus is killing every minute.' ”
According to statistics from the American Heart Association, on average, someone dies of cardiovascular disease every 37 seconds in the United States, resulting in more than 2,300 deaths per day.
Frankel said he’s already seen patients with stress-related ailments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There’s a tremendous amount of stress with this,” he said. “People think they might have it and are very worried. It’s the uncertainty, the unknown. People are scared.”
Frankel is going to community centers and apartment complexes and will even do house calls if necessary. He said he plans to take the bus throughout Long Island and Queens.
“I’ll do this till patients can get back to their doctors,” he said. “This is what I trained for, to help people, so now I have to get out there and help the public.”
On Monday, the bus parked outside the Home Health Aide Training Institute in Westbury and Frankel saw about 10 students, staff and locals who spotted it.
Maria Santiago, director of the institute, called the bus a “fabulous” service to the community at a time when residents, particularly the elderly, don’t want to risk going to a doctor’s office and waiting with other patients to be seen.
“With COVID-19, people are afraid to walk out their door,” she said. “If you tell them the bus is in their area, they want to come out and see what’s going on with their health. You don’t want people to be home and suffering unnecessarily.”
One patient was Gildharry Dinanathsingh, 71, principal of the institute’s school, who said he wanted to have an EKG and a blood pressure reading since he has coronary artery disease.
“It was very convenient and I didn’t have to go into an office with other people,” he said. “It was a great opportunity to get checked out and now I know everything is OK.”