Retired health care workers lending expertise via telehealth

Posted at 9:29 PM, Apr 06, 2020

Nueces County Health Care professionals are calling on retired doctors to help out during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Nueces County Medical Society anticipates local hospitals and doctor’s offices will be seeing more patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why they’re making phone calls to retired doctors, to help out in a time of need.

Those doctors have a lot of knowledge and experience working in the healthcare field.

“These specialists, a lot of times, are people that have practiced for 40 to 50 years and they're very, very well-informed,” said Dr. Lonnie Schwirtlich, who is a part of the Medical Society and also works at Premiere Physcian.

Dr. John Pettigrove, who’s been retired for nearly three years, got the phone call to step up during the fight against COVID-19.

“I think people like me never really get over working,” said Pettigrove, who’s been retired for nearly three years. “Most of us have been pretty eager or interested in volunteering and feel like it's an important need for the community.”

Because many of the doctors are elderly and considered a high-risk population, they’ll be working in telemedicine. They will provide useful information to other local doctors and their patients by phone or online video chats. It’s information like what the best treatment is and what medications to take.

“You can actually interview patients directly and answer questions and ask them questions to get an idea of what kind of problems they have,” said Pettigrove.

Schwirtlich also says the increased access to care will help local doctors and hospitals during the health crisis.

“I think it's a big big plus in trying to handle this surge and get the best results as we come through,” said Schwirtlich. “I’m just so proud of our retired docs for jumping in and trying to help and offering to help.”

If you are a retired doctor or health care professional who may be able to provide any information or assistance, you ‘re asked to the reach out to the Nueces County Medical Society.