The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our lives in ways we did not expect or imagine. Sadly, one of the affected areas is the attitude towards health emergencies.
A recent CDC study found that emergency room visits for non-Covid emergencies – such as strokes and heart attacks – dropped 42% during the Covid pandemic between March 29-April 25 when compared to March 31-April 27 from the previous year. This means more people could have serious complications, including death, from serious medical conditions because they did not seek treatment for an emergency medical condition at hospitals fearing they would catch coronavirus.
I encourage anyone experiencing the symptoms of stroke, heart attack or any other serious health emergency to seek immediate medical care at a hospital.
Unfortunately, people have unnecessarily died out of fear of going to the hospital.
Take the case of a 38-year-old Pennsylvania father of two who woke up with tightness in his chest. According to Today.com, Dominick Battel did not want to go to the emergency room out of fear of catching the coronavirus.
Hours later, realizing his symptoms were serious, his wife called 9-1-1, but it was too late. When paramedics arrived at his home, he collapsed and died from a heart attack. Had Mr. Battel sought medical care earlier that day, he might have received lifesaving treatment.
In an effort to prevent more tragedies like this, the American Heart Association created the “Don’t Die of Doubt,” campaign, urging patients to go to the hospital when there is a medical emergency.
Another medical emergency requiring immediate attention is stroke. With stroke, time lost is brain lost. The sooner a patient gets intervention, the less damage to that patient’s brain. Every known treatment of stroke is more effective the earlier it begins.
If you experience the warning signs of stroke – drooping face, slurred speech, arm weakness, tingling, dizziness, visual disturbances, confusion and headache – it’s imperative to get immediate medical attention.
Covid will be with us for a while. It’s important to recognize the symptoms of a medical emergency and to seek immediate medical help. It may save your life.