The American Heart Association responds to alarming drop in 9-1-1 calls fueled by COVID-19 fears

Jul 20, 2020 at 05:45 am by WGNS


As COVID-19 cases continue to increase and strain emergency departments nationwide, a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) suggests ER visits in April were down 42 percent compared to the same period last year. Yet, heart attacks and strokes haven’t stopped for COVID-19. To combat this alarming trend, the American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, took action and created a new public awareness campaign called, “Don’t Die of Doubt,” that urges people to call 9-1-1 and seek emergency medical care at the hospital if experiencing symptoms of a heart attack or a stroke.

The campaign emphasizes that the best chance to survive an acute event, like a heart attack or stroke, is to call 9-1-1 and get an ambulance to the hospital where they are fully prepared to treat you safely. Hospitals are still the safest place to be during a medical emergency.

With news coverage of coronavirus cases still fueling fear of using emergency medical services, there is a critical need to reach everyone across the country with reassurance. People can receive safe care for heart attack or stroke symptoms, and other urgent medical needs, in hospitals.

When it comes to surviving a heart attack or a stroke, seconds count, and so doubting symptoms, and thereby delaying care, may prove deadly.

“Heart attack and stroke symptoms are always urgent. This campaign is geared toward minimizing hesitation to call 9-1-1 in an emergency,“ said Dr. Evelio Rodriquez, Board President of the Greater Nashville American Heart Association. “Emergency responders, as well as doctors and nurses at the hospital, know what to do even when things seem chaotic and emergency departments have made plans behind the scenes including screening for COVID-19 symptoms, treating coronavirus patients in separate areas and increased cleaning protocols to keep patients and workers safe.”

“We encourage everyone facing a medical emergency to seek help quickly,” said Kelley Tune, Executive Director of the Greater Nashville American Heart Association. “Do not be afraid of the hospital due to the pandemic. If something’s not right, you should pay attention to the warning signs of heart attack and stroke and seek emergency care.”

For more about this campaign and community resources, visit www.heart.org/dontdieofdoubt.

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