Michiana doctors seeing a stampede of patients - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Michiana doctors seeing a stampede of patients


The end of the year always has people rushing all over the place, including those last minute doctor's visits. But this year, in light of ObamaCare, the busy season has become a stampede. "They're just completely uncertain about what's going to happen by January 1st, so that's what's different about this year," says Dr. Jesse Hsieh of the South Bend Surgical Clinic.

Family practioners aren't the only one seeing a flood of patients roll in before the start of the new year. Surgeons tell us they're swamped too.

Dr. David Isaacson, an ear, nose, and throat surgeon, has been working nearly around the clock. Even with those hours, he still can't get enough done. "Just over the last few days, I've found myself operating till late at night. Wednesday I was operating till 10 at night. Yesterday I was here probably for 13 hours doing surgery. It's to the point where I'm close to being maxed out from now until next year as far as being able to do procedures for my patients," he says.

And that's exactly what small business owner Mark Scott is dealing with. He's rushing his 16-year-old daughter Madison in to have nasal surgery before January 1st. "We're just trying to get things taken care of before the unknown of healthcare kicks in, which is Obamacare. I mean, I just see a disaster unfolding. So we're very concerned. Right now we're going to lose our provider so we're going to be forced to make a decision. Hopefully we'll be able to keep our provider for the next year," says Scott.

To help those like Scott, doctors are trying to squeeze patients in. "It gets to be very fatiguing. It's definitely not a schedule I'd want to keep up," says Dr. Isaacson. He says from the month of November to December, the surgeries double, and that he'll be working every single day this December.

Dr. Isaacson adds, "Just yesterday I had 4 new patients come in with very large defects in the face and I really couldn't get all of them in within a week's time. It's been crazy." 

But Dr. Isaacson isn't the only doctor pulling 13 hour end-of-the-year shifts. Dr. Zuhair Yaseen, a gastrointestinal surgeon, is also a surgeon at the South Bend Clinic. He says he feels more pressure this year because of the uncertainty of Obamacare. "Some of the patients are concerned that a lot of their employers might drop the health insurance that they have," he says.

So as uncertainty swirls over insurance and coverage, what's certain is neither of these doctors will have much downtime as they head into 2014. Doctors tell us one way they're battling this "end of the year" rush is by relying more on nurse practitioners and physicians assistants.

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