What happens if you have a medical emergency in the era of COVID-19?
SHOULD I STILL CALL 911?
First responders may not be experiencing a decrease in call volume amid the COVID-19 outbreak, but they have noticed changes in patient behaviour.
“What we’re really experiencing out in the field when we’re getting to ‘normal calls,’ like chest pain and cardiac incidents, is that people are a little more apprehensive about going to a hospital where there is any potential for more exposure,” Troy Clifford, provincial president of Ambulance Paramedics of British Columbia, the union that represents paramedics and emergency dispatchers in the province, told CTVNews.ca.
Clifford notes that patients are likely stressed about ongoing instructions not to leave their homes, which could lead them to deny medical assistance.
“Denial in heart attacks is a classic sign and symptom — now its two-fold,” he said by phone.
“We want to really manage those patients because now you’ve added the stress of being a burden and going to a medical facility when you have these conditions.”
Paramedic services across the country have noted that patients will be asked COVID-19 screening questions when speaking to dispatchers. Clifford also notes that the union is working with the Ministry of Health to follow protocols that will protect the health and safety of patients and paramedics.
However, the same Clifford echoed the same sentiment: if you are experiencing a medical emergency, don’t hesitate to seek help.?