For people experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, stroke, mental health or other acute illness or injury, area hospital emergency rooms are still the safest, most appropriate place to get care.
Even though hospitals are caring for patients with COVID-19, clinicians want to reassure the public that individuals who need emergency care should not delay treatment. An emergency is still an emergency.
UHS and Ascension Lourdes hospitals and emergency rooms are well prepared to safely care for people with symptoms of heart attack, stroke and other serious conditions, officials stated in a recent press release.
“We are seeing a concerning drop in the number of people coming in for serious non-COVID-related issues,” said Dr. Matthew Krauthamer, Ascension Lourdes Emergency Department medical director. “Staying home, ignoring the symptoms and suffering out of fear of COVID-19 is a risk people shouldn’t take with their health.”
“Timely treatment for serious conditions is critically important for achieving the best outcomes and lessening the risk of complications,” added Dr. Steven Gomez, director of Emergency Services at UHS. “We are prepared and set up to safely treat patients who require emergency care. No patient should delay their care in an emergency.”
UHS and Ascension Lourdes are equipped to safely protect patients from potential exposure to COVID-19 while taking care of their chest pain, stroke symptoms, traumatic injuries, emotional and mental health and any other acute medical or surgical needs. Separate intake and care areas, waiting room distancing, staff screening, ongoing use of personal protective equipment, as well as extensive safety and sanitization protocols, are in place to ensure all patients are cared for in a protected environment.
Symptoms like pressure, tightness, pain, or a squeezing or aching sensation in your chest or arms that may spread to your neck, jaw or back; shortness of breath; or nausea or lightheadedness may be signs of a heart attack. The types of symptoms that required emergency care in the past still require emergency care now.
UHS and Ascension Lourdes providers also encourage individuals who have pre-existing conditions to continue their routine care to stay healthy. Call your primary care provider or specialist first to discuss whether an online visit is an option for your care. If you can’t talk to your regular doctor, or if you need care more quickly, you can talk to a doctor 24/7 through virtual care offered by both healthcare organizations.