Chippenham Hospital - May 10, 2020

Delaying medical care can have dire consequences. But unfortunately, that’s what has been happening recently in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.

Time matters

  • 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 during a pandemic. 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

The health and safety of our patients, caregivers and communities is our top priority. We maintain strict precautions and infection prevention measures throughout all our medical facilities

Expert emergency care close to home

If you or a loved one are experiencing emergency symptoms, don’t delay care. Time matters and can greatly impact outcomes. We are here for you and we are well-equipped to handle any health concern you may have.

tags: emergency care , er