The results of a new poll that were released on the twenty-eighth of April by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) showed that the prevailing fear of the COVID-19 pandemic is keeping the majority of the adults from seeking urgent medical attention for even serious health conditions.
Conducted by the Morning Consult from April eighteenth to April twentieth, over two thousand adults joined and participated in the poll. According to the results, around twenty-nine percent of one-quarter of the adults had not sought medical care or delayed appointments due to concerns regarding catching the novel coronavirus.
In addition, eighty percent of the participants also believed that any condition that would require visits to the emergency room would significantly increase the risk of exposure to COVID-19 either from a health care worker at the hospital or a patient in the ER.
Another seventy-three percent or three-quarters assumed that visiting an emergency room for an issue other than COVID-19 would further add to the strain on the healthcare system. Therefore, such trips are not mandatory as long as the pandemic is not controlled.
On the issue of facilities for the health care workers, a majority of ninety-one percent agreed that all the workers in the hospital setting, especially those performing procedures that greatly increase the risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus and are working in the front line, should receive an additional ‘hazard pay’.
In a similar way, ninety-seven percent of the adults agreed that the Federal government should respond to the prevailing shorts of personal protective equipment or PPE for the health care workers especially N95 specialized masks as it may be putting the lives of the workers at risk.
While the results of the poll show some positive opinions regarding the issues of front line health care workers, not addressing serious health issues due to the fear of contracting the coronavirus infection can lead to serious consequences.
For instance, if a person with a heart-related condition avoids going to the emergency room, the chances of having a life-threatening cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or a stroke are elevated. In the end, there may be a need for multiple visits instead of one for a health problem that could have been avoided by seeking help at the right time.
Secondly, health experts have also urged people to seek help when needed without feeling like they are straining the health care system. The COVID-19 pandemic may have revealed a number of problems within the system and created difficult situations for workers but operational rooms and wards for other health conditions are increasingly becoming empty.
Amidst the fears of contracting the coronavirus, many people have stopped going to hospitals altogether. While this is worrying especially for people with serious health conditions, it also leaves room for people to get faster and better treatment or attention from their respective doctors.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic is far from being controlled at this point, as said by the chief of the World Health Organization himself, it does not mean hospitals and medical facilities will stop providing services or treatment for people who need help for other health conditions.
The president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, William Jaquis, recently emphasized the need for urgent medical care. In his new statement, he said “Waiting to see a doctor if you think you’re having a medical emergency could be life-threatening,”
“While it’s important to stay home and follow social distancing guidelines, it’s critical to always know when to go to the emergency department.” He further added.