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Going to emergency could save your life

By Lorraine Graves

Published 4:59 PDT, Fri May 22, 2020

Richmond’s medical health officer says go to emergency if you think you need it.

“Emergency visits are down. People are not seeking emergency care,” says Dr. Meena Dawar. “People should not be afraid. It is safe to seek emergency care including at Richmond Hospital.”

In British Columbia, COVID-19 can only be attributed as the cause for half of the extra deaths we are seeing during the pandemic, according to provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. 

A recent paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine surveyed 21 hospitals in Northern California. The number of people going to hospital for severe heart attacks was half what it was before the pandemic. 

Another paper, also published in the same journal, found that as a result of COVID-19, there was a 39 per cent decrease in the number of patients who received evaluations for acute stroke.

With heart attack and stroke still the major killer and disabler of adults in Canada, the Heart and Stroke Foundation (heartandstroke.ca) says, ”Do not hesitate to call 911, even during the coronavirus pandemic. Hospitals are prepared. Don’t let COVID-19 destroy more lives.”

Early treatment reduces the chance of death or disability. The Heart and Stroke Foundation and Dawar are clear, if you think you might be having a heart attack or stroke, seek immediate medical assistance or go straight to an emergency ward.

If you aren’t sure, check this link for possible signs and symptoms. 

Symptoms can be more subtle in women and consequently women more often die of their first heart attack.

With safety measures in BC hospitals keeping COVID-19 patients isolated from others, the risk of catching the virus in hospital is now low.


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