Don’t avoid the ER because of COVID concerns

“Where are the people that are having heart attacks and strokes?"
Posted at 6:13 PM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-15 18:13:17-04

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — “Where are the people that are having heart attacks and strokes and other surgical emergencies,” said Dr. Joshua Lynch, medical director, DeGraff Memorial Hospital Emergency Department.

Dr. Joshua Lynch, medical director, DeGraff Memorial Hospital Emergency Department.

Kaleida Health is sounding the alarm to make sure you go to the emergency room if you are in a medical emergency.

Kaleida says visits to their hospital ER’s drastically dropped in April and May because of COVID-19 fears. ER visits to all Kaleida Hospitals dropped by a whopping 63-percent in April.

But the hospitals are taking proper protocols to keep you safe.

“Many patients and family members have been very concerned about the safety of the hospital,” declared Dr. Lynch.

“I just thought it was a really bad ingestion. It just got more intense,” said Ann Brooker of Williamsville.

Brooker tells 7 Eyewitness News she found herself in the midst of a medical emergency in April and initially was afraid to go to the ER.

“With everything going on with COVID, I can’t see myself going to the hospital,” Brooker responded.

She had no idea she had an inflamed gall bladder, but the intense pain pulled the trigger for her to go to Millard Fillmore Suburban's ER.

“I told my husband get the keys, get the car — lets go — I can't stand this pain anymore,” Brooker recalled.

Ann Brooker of Williamsville was hesitant to go to the ER back in April.

But when Brooker arrived she says she saw protocols in place to keep her safe from COVID.

“From the moment we walked in — I felt good about the situation, like that they were being safe, they were practicing safe protocol,” reflected Brooker.

“Now we are very prepared. We have a system in place to handle patients when they come in or visitors when they come in to get screened, to get a mask, to get a temperature taken. We have that down pat,” Dr. Lynch stated

Dr. Lynch said there was a slight improvement in ER visits in May and they are slowly improving this month.

If you don't feel right, Dr. Lynch says it’s possible you could be having a heart attack, a stroke or another serious emergency and need immediate medical care.

“You really should treat seeking care today no different than you would have a year ago,” explained Lynch. “So if that meant calling 9–11 right away without hesitating do the same thing. If that meant getting in your families car and driving to the hospital, you should treat it exactly the same."

Lynch also explained that after each patient leaves an area of the ER department, it gets fully sanitized.

“When you exit the emergency department room that you were being cared for in — extensive cleaning goes on there,” Lynch remarked.

Brooker said she had surgery for her gall bladder and was reassured protocols were being followed.

“They had very strict protocols about where the non-COVID patients are located and honestly it was good. It was a very good experience,” Brooker noted. “They made me feel comfortable.”