While concerns about the coronavirus have dominated the health concerns of most Bulloch County and area residents, the medical director for Emergency Services at East Georgia Regional Medical Center doesn’t want people to ignore other potentially serious health issues.
“We have seen a reduction in overall (Emergency Department) visits due to concerns for COVID-19 infections,” said Dr. Alan Scott. “However, medical conditions don't take a break just because we are observing social distancing. We don't want our patients to get sicker from an illness or accident due to a delay in seeking medical care.”
Erin Spillman, director of Marketing at East Georgia, said the hospital is urging the local community to seek emergency care when needed – without delay.
“If you experience a medical emergency such as stroke symptoms or chest pain that may be a heart attack, a timely response will support the best possible outcome,” Spillman said in a release.
East Georgia Regional is currently treating one COVID-19 patient and has had about a dozen patients since the outbreak, but Spillman said the staff is remaining vigilant.
“Even with a limited number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in our community, our hospital has implemented precautions to protect patients and staff, including screening all patients for symptoms and risk factors, and placing any individuals with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 in a separate area,” she said. “Cleaning and disinfection are emphasized in caregiving areas and throughout the facility.”
Spillman said the hospital is supporting the latest campaign by the American Heart Association: “Be Certain in Uncertain times.” The medical group’s campaign goal is to remind everyone that heart attacks, strokes and cardiac arrests don’t stop for COVID-19.
“It is important that you get prompt medical care whether it is for COVID-19 or for another illness,” Dr. Scott said “Our first order of business is patient safety; that comes first. East Georgia Regional has made specific accommodations for COVID-19 to ensure we can care for you for that illness; or the multitude of other medical problems that we encounter every single day. We will provide that care in our culture of safety and high reliability just as we do throughout the year."
Heart attack signs and symptoms:
- Chest discomfort
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body
- Shortness of breath
- Other possible signs include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
- Women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain. Some women are more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
Stroke signs and symptoms:
- Face drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb?
- Arm weakness – Is one arm weak or numb?
- Speech difficulty – Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand?
- Time to call 911 – If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get them to the hospital immediately.
If you experience any of the above symptoms, Dr. Scott and Spillman urge people not to hesitate to call 911.
“Emergency workers know what to do to protect and care for you,” Spillman said.