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Don’t Avoid Your Hospital ER During the Pandemic

Many medical emergencies do not resolve on their own, and oftentimes waiting can make the situation worse. Unfortunately, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many Emergency Room (ER) doctors and personnel have cared for patients whose conditions had escalated to more critical levels that could have been avoided if they had come to the ER sooner. Getting expert care quickly can be critical for those experiencing a heart attack or stroke, where every second counts, but this is also true for other conditions, including acute appendicitis and infections. 

The negative outcomes associated with delayed care, such as amputation and sepsis, are especially devastating when you consider that ERs have some of the strictest screening and safety measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and are safer than most places people regularly visit. 

There is no need to be afraid of seeking medical care if you or someone in your household is experiencing a life-threatening emergency. The risk of not seeking treatment is far greater than an ER visit. 

Safety Protocols Are in Place 

In accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization, our ERs have the highest safety protocols in place to protect you and our team. These begin the moment you enter the ER and include screening incoming patients, requiring patients to wear masks and separating patients suspected of having COVID-19 from the general patient population. 

All staff wear proper PPE when caring for COVID-19 patients to prevent spread of the virus. And we also wear proper masks and gloves when caring for you — again, in separate areas away from infected patients. You can safely receive expert care in person without being exposed to unnecessary viral risk. 

Essentially, you should understand that the risk of coming to an ER is no greater — and probably far less than — going to a busy supermarket or the workplace, or doing any other everyday errands. 

When Should I Immediately Go to the ER? 

If you have a medical condition or complaint and have been avoiding the ER, don't wait for your symptoms to worsen. You need to get to an ER right away if you’re experiencing any of the following: 

  • Acute chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Fainting

  • Weakness

  • Difficulty speaking

  • Severe headache or abdominal pain that does not resolve

  • Traumatic injury that may require an X-ray

Expert Care (and Beds) for Those in Need

When the pandemic started, there was a lot of concern that ERs would become overcrowded with COVID-19 patients like they had in New York City. Fortunately, that never happened in Central Florida. 

Even during the uptick of serious COVID-19 cases we encountered, we had plenty of room for patients not infected with the virus. ER patients were often apologetic for using a bed for their medical emergency, and others believed the ER was only to be used for COVID-19 cases. 

This couldn’t be further from the truth. If you’re experiencing serious, life-threatening symptoms of any kind, the board-certified emergency physicians and expert care team at our ERs can provide you with a thorough evaluation and treatment in rapid time. So don’t delay the care you need.


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