The people stay at home, or present late to the hospital. “Emergencies, we are here to care for people,go there,” advises Dr. Jean Lapointe, del Hotel-Dieu de Lévis.
May 23, 2020 4: 00
The fear eats away at the emergency room
The patient arrived at the emergency of the Hôtel-Dieu de Lévis with the half of the body paralyzed. Since a week, he felt numbness to his arm and face, but he told himself that it was going to happen.
The man did not want to see, fearing to be infected in the hospital by the coronavirus, ” said Dr. Jean Lapointe, an emergency physician at Hotel-Dieu de Lévis and assistant director of professional services acting at the Centre of integrated health and social services (CISSS) of Chaudière-Appalaches.
Frightened by the possibility of contracting the virus on-site, patients are slow to present themselves to the emergency room of the hospital lévisien, where the number of visits has fallen significantly in the wake of the pandemic. “They are afraid of catching the COVID,” said Dr Lapointe.
However, more patients are treated early in the emergency, the more they decrease the possible sequelae, argued Dr. Lapointe. And, in some cases, if they wait too long, the consequences may be irreversible, even fatal. The figures of traffic are of concern. In April, the urgency of the Hôtel-Dieu de Lévis has received approximately 2630 visits less than in April last year. The waiting rooms, which are often crowded in normal times, now have air empty.
This is not only the case in Lévis. A “significant decline” in the emergency rooms of the province has also been observed in march and April, confirms Marie-Claude Lacasse, a spokesperson for the ministry of Health and social Services.
But the fall in visits to the emergency can be explained not only by the fear of contracting the COVID-19, grade Ms. Lacasse.
“In particular, the instruction to stay at home as much as possible and postpone anything that is not urgent in our lives has resulted in fewer injuries, falls and accidents, and the circulation of other viruses, all of the events that can lead people to view. ”
Dr. Jean Lapointe, an emergency physician at Hotel-Dieu de Lévis
Risks far greater
Still, the fear of being infected by the virus has played had an important role in the abandonment of emergencies, believes Dr. Arsène-Joseph Basmadjian, president of the Association of cardiologists of Quebec.
In mid-April, a cardiologist, a little everywhere in Quebec have reported the association of many cases of patients who admitted themselves to be presented late to the emergency room or have deferred, a follow-up for fear of the COVID.
“There are still those who are very hesitant, who do not come for their exams, you remember and you say, “but why you have not presented?” They say : “well, because, doctor, I’m too scared”” said Dr. Basmadjian.
The cardiologist tries to explain to his patients that there are areas which are “cold” and “warm” as provided in the waiting rooms of emergency, and that the risk of being infected by the COVID-19 is still very low.
But sometimes, the fear of the COVID carries the day, even if the risk of dying from a heart attack or suffer major complications of a STROKE should be much more frightening, ” said Dr. Basmadjian.
The members of the association have noted an increase in cardiac complications. The majority of patients are not deceased, note Dr. Basmadjian. “But when you remain with significant sequelae, it is not a good quality of life”.
In mid-April, the Association of cardiologists of Quebec believed that the consultations for acute heart attacks had decreased from 40% to 60 %. For its part, the Association of neurologists of Quebec believed that there was a fall of 70 % to 80 % of emergency department visits for STROKE in minor or transient ischemic attacks (TIA), reported Radio-Canada.
The minister of Health and social Services of Quebec, Danielle McCann, had regretted that people expect too much before going to the emergency.
Since may, the traffic tends to go up in the emergency room of the province, ” noted Ms. Lacasse, department of Health and social Services.
But in the past five weeks, visits to the emergency rooms of the province still remain significantly lower than the same time last year, shows the most recent statement of the ministry.
Dr. Lapointe recalls that the emergency have adopted strict measures to protect the patients of the COVID-19, and that he should not hesitate to apply for an urgent medical problem. “Emergencies, we are here to care for people,” he said. Go for it”.