Ensuring safe access to emergency medical care continues to be important, even during a pandemic. Prime hospitals remain available to serve emergency needs for non-COVID related issues. Patients should not delay care when needed, especially for conditions where early diagnosis and treatment can be lifesaving, such as heart attack and stroke. This is a public service message to communities and patients to continue to seek care in your local emergency room for non-COVID conditions when needed and our emergency rooms and physicians remain ready to care for you.
Recent trends suggest that patients are not seeking care for emergencies and delays in diagnosis are leading to poor outcomes. Stay-at-home orders issued by public health agencies make exceptions for those in need of emergency medical treatments. Signs or symptoms of medical emergencies should not be ignored. Those experiencing signs of a heart attack or stroke, such as chest pain or sudden muscle weakness, should still call 911 or visit the emergency room immediately.
“Our Emergency Department remains open, safe and ready to serve patients and our community, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week,” said Jodi Fincher, CEO of St. Joseph Medical Center, who added that the hospital is concerned that some people might ignore danger signs and postpone trips to the ER for fear of being exposed to the coronavirus. “We are well prepared to handle non-COVID emergencies as well as able to deal with an influx of potential COVID-19 cases, and are following all state, local and federal guidelines to safeguard our staff and other patients from exposure.”
Those experiencing mild flu-like symptoms should consult with their primary care physician while taking precautions to self-isolate and limit contact with family members while at home. If symptoms worsen, however, visit an emergency room as soon as possible.
Information on the potential warning signs of a heart attack can be found here: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-attack/warning-signs-of-a-heart-attack. For signs of a stroke, visit https://www.stroke.org/en/about-stroke/stroke-symptoms.