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Hospitals: Don't delay emergency care

The Brillion News

GREEN BAY - Heart attacks, strokes, accidents and injuries are just a few examples of medical emergencies that can occur at any time, in any place and to any one – even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Hospital Sisters Healthcare System - with hospitals in Green Bay, Sheboygan and Oconto Falls - said most hospitals are open and available to provide all types of emergency medical care, 24/7, regardless of the current public health crisis.

A recent report from the American College of Emergency Physicians states some emergency departments across the country are seeing a reduction in patient volumes, as well as patients delaying seeking medical care for non-COVID-19 related emergencies – potentially due to patients being concerned about contracting COVID-19 during a hospital visit or overwhelming health care workers.

“We urge our community members to never forgo or delay seeking medical care for any type of emergency, even in the midst of a pandemic,” said Dr. Kyle McCarty, emergency medicine physician for HSHS hospitals in Eastern Wisconsin. “We have highly-skilled, compassionate providers ready to care for you and protocols in place to prevent the spread of all infectious diseases, including COVID-19.”

The following are some examples of symptoms/incidents in which a trip to the emergency department or call to 911 would be necessary:

 Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath

 Chest or upper abdominal pain or pressure

 Severe abdominal pain

 Bleeding that will not stop

 Fainting, sudden dizziness, weakness

 Sudden changes in vision

 Sudden confusion

 Injury due to accident, burns or smoke inhalation, near drowning, deep or large wounds or other serious injuries

 Choking

 Difficulty speaking

 Coughing or vomiting blood

 Head or spine injury

This message is also timely in that May is Stroke Awareness Month. Stroke is currently the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot, bursts or ruptures. Signs and symptoms of stroke can include: sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance; and sudden severe headache without a known reason.

An easier way to remember stroke signs and symptoms is to think of the phrase/acronym, BE FAST:

B – Balance difficulty

E – Eye changes

F – Face drooping

A – Arm weakness

S – Speech slurred

T – Time to call 911

Studies show patients who arrive in the Emergency Department within the first three hours of stroke symptoms have

better outcomes and less disability than those who delayed care. Always call 911 if a stroke is suspected.


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