Should I still go to the emergency department?

Emergency room visits not associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) are down across the country according to the American Hospital Association, which identified stay-at-home orders resulting in less injury as the primary cause.  But it’s the other part of the story that has physicians worried.

Patients with severe illnesses may be steering clear of emergency rooms due to fears caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Care providers worry that those with heart disease, stroke, cancer or asthma could suffer permanent damage by avoiding the emergency department (ED) for fear of catching the disease. They may mistakenly think that hospitals are only open for caring for COVID-19 patients.

BJC’s hospitals protect their ED patients by isolating any individuals suspected of having COVID-19 so as to not come into contact with ED patients.

When the condition is life-threatening, such as a heart attack, stroke or when someone is unresponsive, call 911 immediately.

Use an ED for:
  • trouble breathing

  • chest pain

  • severe allergic reactions

  • severe pain

  • serious injury

  • sudden vision impairment

  • broken bones visible through the skin

  • severe burns

  • fainting

  • poisoning

  • rapid heartbeat

Even with coronavirus, healthy people can get ill and need to go to an emergency department. When it’s important to get care right away, BJC hospitals are ready.

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