TEL AVIV (VINnews) — A heavy silence permeates hospital emergency rooms in the last few weeks. Doctors claim that people are avoiding emergency rooms even when it is imperative for their health due to their fear of contracting COVID-19. In many cases when they do finally arrive it is too late, according to a Walla news report.
The fear of the contagious virus could endanger life even more than the actual virus, which in many cases is mild and will not be life-threatening. A tweet from the Ichilov hospital demonstrates this most bluntly: “Just yesterday at a very advanced stage, a number of people in serious condition arrived at the emergency room. One died of septic shock after waiting at home on a urinary block, another waited at home with internal gastric bleeding for six days until he lost consciousness and another patient waited at home for a number of days with a high fever after a serious operation. All of these patients delayed their arrival to receive treatment despite their obvious symptoms because they were scared of corona.” The tweet’s author was Dr. Guy Lahat, co-director of the hospital’s surgical unit.
Dr. Lahat added in another tweet that “this is a dangerous situation which costs lives and it’s not due to coronavirus. We have seen an 80% reduction in referrals for emergency treatment and not just in the surgical unit. During the weekend three patients died of heart attacks because they didn’t arrive in time for treatment. I call on all of the public: Don’t avoid coming for emergency treatment while suffering at home from worrying symptoms. Immediately they appear one should come to the emergency room and ensure receiving treatment which will prevent complications and mortality.”
In Hadera’s Hillel Yaffe hospital a similar trend has been noticed. Dr. Jalal Ashkar, the director of emergency medicine at the hospital, told Walla news that a number of patients who arrived there should have arrived earlier and delayed their arrival because of the virus. “I saw at least two patients with chest pains who held out for 4-5 days before coming to hospital and patients with chronic lung disease and low oxygen who arrived in very serious condition, one of them required a respirator.”
Dr. Ashkar stressed that the hospital is taking all precautions to prevent infection and that the emergency room is totally separate from the coronavirus ward. “Whoever needs to should come. I want to provide treatment for patients with chest pains, pulmonary problems, shortness of breath, chronic lung disease, high sugar, oncology patients with fever, patients with suspected strokes- all of these shouldn’t think twice and should come and they will receive immediate diagnosis and optimal treatment.”
Dr. Ashkar also explained that hospitals are taking steps to separate suspected coronavirus patients from other patients. “We have a separate department for verified patients and for suspected cases and two doctors measure the temperature of everyone entering the hospital, including staff. If their temperature is above 38 they cannot enter the regular emergency room.”