EMERYVILLE, Calif. (June 2, 2020) — Emergency departments across the country have been experiencing a sharp decline in visits, including those for heart attack and stroke. It is a dangerous trend, and physicians are imploring patients to call 911 or come in when needed, which should always be the response to a medical emergency.
According to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the volume of serious heart attacks in U.S. hospitals has declined by 40% compared to the year prior. There is not a medical explanation for this decline. The fact is, many people are afraid to go to the hospital, and they are putting themselves at great risk to avoid in-person care. And because people are not responding to warning signs—opting for a wait-and-see approach—the severity of heart attacks and critical illnesses is increasing.
Delaying care for many urgent illnesses and serious injuries can lead to long-term consequences or even death. Medical experts are also concerned that people may be avoiding care altogether during the “warning” incidents, such as smaller heart attacks and strokes—which, if untreated, can result in larger, more significant occurrences in the future.
Hospitals across the nation have implemented extensive safety protocols, including screenings at the door, mask requirements, increased sanitation, and visitor limitations. Many facilities also have dedicated areas of the hospital to keep COVID-19 patients separated. These facilities are open, have capacity, and are ready for all emergencies.
Although information regarding COVID-19 is constantly evolving, emergency care instructions are not. Any warning signs of heart attack, stroke, or other serious illnesses or injuries should not be ignored. Minutes count. Always call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.
As a physician-led and –owned multispecialty partnership, Vituity has driven positive change in the business and practice of healthcare for nearly 50 years. Our 4,200 clinicians provide compassionate, integrated acute care across the country, serving over 6.5 million patients annually.