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Baptist Emergency Rooms safe for heart, other emergency care Physicians warn delaying emergency out of fear could harm more than help

May 14, 2020

chestpain-500-x-400Physicians across the country are concerned that a second wave of deaths this year could be on the horizon; not from the COVID-19 virus, but because of people delaying care for other emergencies such as heart attacks or strokes out of fear of contracting COVID-19. Across the U.S., hospitals are reporting that their Emergency Department visits overall have decreased over the last few weeks during the pandemic.

Juan Diego Martinez, M.D., a board-certified interventional cardiologist who practices at Baptist Health System, said people have a misconception that they will contract the virus if they come to the hospital, but that is just not accurate,” Dr. Martinez said. “Our hospitals and hospital EDs are safe for all patients, including those without COVID-19, because we adhere to rigorous standards and protocols to protect our staff and every patient who comes through our doors.”

Dr. Martinez said that the fear of the virus and avoiding a hospital could be more detrimental for someone having an emergency as it could result in death or the onset of debilitating health problems in the long run.

“If you think you may be having a heart attack or stroke, you need to come to the Emergency Room immediately because any delay could lead to a ruptured heart muscle or death,” Dr. Martinez warned. “Those who delay treatment for a stroke for example, could risk permanent paralysis, blindness or brain damage,” he said.

Dr. Martinez also cautions people to be cognizant of lifestyle changes during shelter-at-home orders that could contribute to a heart disease or stroke such as: stress of isolation, lack of regular exercise, higher intake of high cholesterol or processed meals and foods high in sodium.

“All of these things can cause stress on the body, heart and blood vessels, so it’s everyone’s job to be aware and not be afraid to get medical attention immediately if needed. We are here to take care of our community and our patients and we’re going to keep them safe and get them back to good health.”

Pull Quote: Our hospitals and hospital EDs are safe for all patients, including those without COVID-19, because we adhere to rigorous standards and protocols to protect our staff and every patient who comes through our doors.” – Juan Diego Martinez,M.D., cardiologist with Baptist Health System

View the news story featuring Dr. Martinez (from Telemundo in Spanish): https://www.telemundosanantonio.com/noticias/local/instan-a-pacientes-a-ir-a-buscar-atencion-medica-sin-temor/2054517/

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