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.
- 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.
At Methodist Healthcare, 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.
Some of the steps we’re taking to keep you and our clinical team safe are:
- Patients coming to the hospital may be accompanied by one visitor. (No visitors are allowed in the Behavioral Health unit at Methodist Hospital Specialty and Transplant).
- Inpatients will continue to not be allowed visitors.
- All visitors must continue to wear a mask at all times.
- We will administer temperature checks at the entrance, and will provide a mask if needed.
- All visitors must continue to follow social distancing.
- All patients scheduled to have surgery or a procedure will be tested for COVID-19 in all hospitals.
- We are disinfecting high-touch areas such as elevators, door handles, waiting room chairs, and more many times a day.
Expert emergency care close to home
“This is an uncertain time for all of us right now. We understand you may have some concerns coming into a hospital in the midst of a pandemic. Our abundance of safety measures and visitor guidelines have become the new normal in our Methodist Hospitals.” Michelle Henderson, Associate Chief Nursing Officer, Methodist Hospital.
Watch more about the safety enhancements at all Methodist Healthcare Hospitals.
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.