Earlier this year during the COVID-19 chaos in New England, health officials predicted that emergency room resources would be overwhelmed between regular emergencies and people coming in with COVID.
But, that is not what happened.
Instead, emergency department visits for medical emergencies including: psychiatric problems, trauma and heart attacks declined by 30.9% from 1 yr to the next, according to Science Daily data.
Health experts across the country were concerned that critically ill patients were not seeking the care they needed for fear of catching COVID-19.
“Our health system experienced decreases in nearly all non-COVID-19 conditions presenting to EDs during the initial phase of the pandemic, including those requiring specialty consultation and urgent inpatient procedures,” Dr. Joshua J. Baugh and colleagues wrote in a study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine. “While more people with less serious conditions may have stayed away from the emergency department, many cases that we would not have expected to decrease went down as well.“
“For example, people requiring catheterization of their hearts for potential heart emergencies, people requiring appendectomies for appendicitis, people requiring consultation for an acute psychiatric episode, across the board we saw that patients with other conditions weren’t coming in at the rate that they usually do,” Dr. Baugh said.
As was widely reported at the time, some opted to seek care at urgent care clinics or personal physicians instead of hospitals for fear of catching COVID-19.
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