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A new poll from the American College of Emergency Physicians and Morning Consult reveals public concerns around seeking medical care during the current outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and support for federal efforts to protect those on the frontline.
"I think I would say that, while COVID remains a great concern to patients and healthcare providers alike, patients should be reassured that we are taking all the appropriate safety measures to protect patients and staff when they come to the emergency department and the hospital for care," says Ernest Wang, MD, Chief of Emergency Medicine at NorthShore.
The data also confirm a worrisome trend across emergency departments of people who are avoiding getting the medical care they need. While it’s important to stay home and follow social distancing guidelines, it’s critical to always know when to go to the emergency department.
"Delay in treatment for emergency conditions can lead to more serious injury to vital organs systems including the brain, heart, lungs, and kidneys," says Wang. "Delays in treating infections will make it more difficult to treat and control. These delays can also lead to complications that could be avoided with earlier emergency evaluation and treatment."
Wang offers an example: "If you have a heart attack or stroke and delay evaluation for a day or more, you’re more likely to have complications from a larger injury to the heart muscle or brain tissue." So as Wang outlines it's important to still go to the Emergency Room if you're in pain or unsure of your condition.
Here EmergencyPhysicians.org provides the stats based on its research:
The poll was conducted on April 18-April 20, 2020 among a national sample of 2201 adults. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percent. Click the infographic below for a visual representation of this information.