In the wake of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, emergency departments (EDs) are suddenly empty of the normal patient volume that typically keep them busy. People are staying home and avoiding hospitals and doctors’ offices, and potentially avoiding getting the care they need.
“Delaying medical care is not worth the risk,” says Robert J. Cerfolio, MD, MBA, executive vice president and vice dean, chief of hospital operations at NYU Langone Health, in an op-ed for the New York Daily News. “Yet fear of catching COVID is leading to poor decision-making on other health fronts. Patients see EDs, doctor’s offices, and hospitals no longer as places that lead to recovery, but as cauldrons where everyone has COVID, and where they’ll likely catch it.”
A delay in seeking care can increase the seriousness of many conditions—like heart attack, stroke, and appendicitis. Many of these cases can be prevented or minimized if the person goes to an ED in a timely manner.
Dr. Cerfolio adds, “The public must be reminded that the emergency department, the doctor’s office, and the hospital still remain the safest places for someone who has a health issue or problem, particularly those that have been ignored. Is there a perfect environment, completely free of COVID? No one can make that claim because there is still much to learn about this disease.”
Read more from the New York Daily News.