Delaying medical care can have serious consequences. Unfortunately, that is what has been happening recently in the wake of COVID-19. Data suggests that hospitals across the country have seen a decrease in patients coming to the emergency room for time-sensitive conditions such as heart attack, stroke and appendicitis.
- Stroke: When it comes to stroke, time is brain. Delaying care even minutes can increase brain damage, disability and even death. During a stroke, several million-brain cells die every minute. And for ischemic strokes, the clot busting drug tPA can only be administered within the first few hours after the start of symptoms.
- Heart attack: The longer a heart attack goes untreated, the more heart muscle can be damaged. Depending on the extent of damage, this can lead to heart failure, arrhythmia or even death. The quicker a person can recognize symptoms, get to the ER and be taken to the cath lab, the better their chance of survival and minimized damage.
- Appendicitis: If a person has appendicitis for 24-48 hours, the appendix can rupture. This causes the infection to spill into the abdomen and can make a person very sick and can even be life threatening. That is why it is so important to call your doctor or head to the emergency room if you are suspicious of appendicitis.
When to go to the emergency room
If you would normally go to an emergency room for your condition, you should still go.
Some sure signs you require emergency attention are:
- Head injury, loss of consciousness or other major trauma
- Severe abdominal pain
- Signs of a stroke such as one-sided weakness or numbness
- Signs of a heart attack such as chest pain
- High fever
- Open fracture
- Uncontrollable pain or bleeding
- Breathing problems
Hospitals remain safe places for care
There is a perception that hospitals might expose an individual to infection or COVID-19, but that is simply not true. Hospitals have extensive safety measures in place to prevent infectious disease from spreading. Not seeking care for a medical emergency is much more dangerous than going to a hospital at this time.
Universal protection plan
Our safety plan touches every part of the hospital and it starts before you even enter the door. Our plan includes:
- Screening everyone for COVID-19 before they can enter the hospital
- Performing temperature checks on all employees and physicians
- Giving everyone a mask BEFORE they enter the hospital and requiring them to wear it
- Limiting visitors
Here are some of the things we are doing inside the hospital to ensure your safety:
- COVID-19 patients and suspected COVID-19 patients are cared for in a dedicated area by the same staff, and not throughout the hospital
- Social distancing is required at all times
- Frequently disinfecting all surfaces in every area