By the American College of Emergency Physicians
As some communities face the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak in their area, others are preparing for a surge of COVID-19-related cases. Emergency physicians continue to encourage everyone to practice social distancing and stay at home when possible, but, do not delay necessary medical care, especially if you think you are having an emergency.
“Despite concerns about the coronavirus, there is no reason to delay or avoid treatment if you think you’re having a medical emergency,” said William Jaquis, M.D., FACEP, president of ACEP. “Waiting too long to seek medical attention could make the difference between life and death.”
In the last month, some emergency departments across the country are seeing a reduction in patient volume of more than 30%. In some rural or underserved communities, emergency physicians are seeing fewer patients, but report that those who do come in are more seriously ill or injured, which may mean they are putting off necessary treatment.
“People continue to have accidents, heart attacks and strokes, and the emergency department remains the best – and often only – source of lifesaving care, even during a pandemic. Emergency physicians are expertly trained to protect our patients during a pandemic, and we have protocols in place to prevent the spread of the virus,” Jaquis said.
Emergency physicians and other frontline health care workers remain committed to providing care to those in their communities, 24 hours a day – regardless of the current public health crisis. Do not hesitate to contact your doctor or call 911 if you need medical attention. It is also important to know when to go to the emergency department.
Some of the warning signs and symptoms of a medical emergency include:
The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is the national medical society representing emergency medicine. Through continuing education, research, public education and advocacy, ACEP advances emergency care on behalf of its 39,000 emergency physician members, and the more than 150 million Americans they treat on an annual basis. For more information, visit www.acep.org and www.emergencyphysicians.org.