Published on July 15, 2021

Woman chest pain

Care that Can’t Wait

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to put off a lot of things. One thing we can’t delay is getting help in an emergency.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in a 2020 survey that 41% of U.S. adults said they delayed or avoided medical care because of concerns about COVID-19, with 12% saying they had avoided urgent or emergency care.

Locally, Adventist HealthCare hospitals have seen a decline in emergency room visits. This includes a drop in patients with symptoms of heart disease and stroke, which the CDC notes are among the top causes of death in the U.S.

These health emergencies don’t stop during a pandemic. It’s important to understand when to seek emergency care. Tuan Vu, MD, assistant medical director of Emergency Medicine at Adventist HealthCare Fort Washington Medical Center, says patients should visit the emergency room immediately if they experience:

• Chest pain

• A compound fracture or swelling

• A seizure

• Difficulty breathing

• Uncontrollable bleeding

If symptoms aren’t clear-cut and you are weighing which healthcare setting is best, Dr. Vu says urgent care, a physician’s office or telemedicine are appropriate for conditions like:

• Ear Pain

• Fever

• Pink eye

• Rashes

• Minor burns and lacerations

• COVID-19 symptoms

By treating health problems properly now, you can head off serious, long-term issues later, he adds.

ER Safety

Fear of COVID-19 shouldn’t deter anyone from calling 9-1-1 or coming to the hospital. Dr. Vu notes that like other Adventist HealthCare hospitals,

Fort Washington Medical Center introduced safety measures such as COVID-19 symptom screenings for team members and visitors, a universal masking policy and socially distanced waiting areas. Fort Washington also gives patients the option to wait in their car until called for their visit.

Since the pandemic began, Adventist HealthCare hospitals have taken extra measures to make sure patients who need care are safe and comfortable. Emergency room patients will receive fast, high-quality treatment from Adventist HealthCare’s award-winning care teams. Our hospitals have earned national recognition for the care of heart attacks, strokes and other critical conditions.

You can also minimize your risk of conditions that require emergency care by:

• Paying attention to high blood pressure and cholesterol.

• Scheduling routine check-ups with a doctor

• Finding a form of exercise you enjoy and can stick with

“Through the pandemic, Fort Washington Medical Center has been committed to high-quality emergency treatment,” Dr. Vu says. “We hope you don’t need us, but we are here if you do.”

Always call 9-1-1

if you are experiencing loss of consciousness, signs of a heart attack, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing or life or limb threatening injury.

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