Norton Healthcare emergency departments are the safest place to be with heart attack or stroke symptoms.
During a visit to the Norton Brownsboro Hospital emergency department one recent afternoon, a man was brought in two days after he first started noticing stroke symptoms.
“He’s in the right place now,” a nurse said, reassuring the woman who dropped him off.
He was wheeled to the check-in station and given a surgical face mask. Showing no symptoms of coronavirus disease, the man was taken directly to a room for care — with no wait and no intermingling with patients who had COVID-19 symptoms.
If he had a fever or other symptoms, he would have been taken to a separate set of rooms — marked off with red tape on the floor — where patients with COVID-19 symptoms are treated by a separate staff. If a patient with no COVID-19 symptoms does have any wait, surgical masks are available, and a temporary designated waiting area has been set up just outside the emergency department.
Don’t hesitate if you need emergency care
While emergency rooms in New York have been overwhelmed during the COVID-19 pandemic, many in the Louisville area are quiet. Social distancing is in place in waiting areas, and caregivers are ready for patients.
The number of people sickened by the coronavirus has been manageable, and established procedures keep those with or without symptoms safe.
Norton Healthcare emergency departments are prepared. Everyone who enters is checked for symptoms of COVID-19, given a surgical face mask and treated in one of two separate areas depending on their symptoms.
Medical staff members are assigned to one set of patients and don’t intermingle with others, to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus. By using personal protective equipment the right way, when it is needed, the staff has been able to keep supplies — masks, gowns, gloves and protective respiratory devices — sufficient for what’s needed.
“It is very important that if you or a loved one is experiencing chest pain, difficulty speaking, mental confusion or difficulty moving an arm or leg, that you call 911,” said Steven T. Hester, M.D., MBA, division president, provider operations, and system chief medical officer, Norton Healthcare. “It is critical that you do not neglect your health or ignore troubling symptoms during this time. Talk to your provider or use our telehealth services if you are not sure your situation requires an ER visit. We are safely and efficiently treating emergency and urgent health care needs for all patients, not just those with COVID-19.”
Those who survive after putting off care can face lifelong chronic conditions as a result.
A study drafted for the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that since March 1, 2020, the number of cardiac catheterizations to treat STEMI heart attacks dropped 38% from the 14 months prior. That’s on top of what could have been an expected increase in STEMI heart attacks, the deadliest type of heart attack, given increased emotional stress and viral-induced heart attacks.
While social distancing has been effective in limiting the spread of the coronavirus, avoiding care for a heart attack, stroke or other life-threatening illness is risking your life.
Symptoms of a heart attack
- Uncomfortable pressure or squeezing in the center of the chest that goes away and comes back, or continues more than a few minutes
- Pain that spreads to one or both arms
- Pain or discomfort in the back, jaw, neck or stomach accompanied by pressure in the chest
- Shortness of breath
- Cold sweat, nausea or vomiting, combined with any of the above symptoms
If You Believe You Are Having a Heart Attack, Do Not Wait to Get Help
Call 911 or have someone take you to the nearest hospital emergency room. After calling 911, you can:
- Take nitroglycerin, if prescribed by your doctor.
- Take aspirin, but only if prescribed by your doctor. Aspirin can interact with other medications and should be taken only when advised by a medical professional.
Symptoms of stroke — BE FAST*
- Balance — loss of balance, coordination or dizziness
- Eyes — having trouble seeing or change in vision in one or both eyes
- Face — uneven smile or face looks uneven, droopy or is numb
- Arms — one arm drops when raising both arms; numbness or weakness in one arm
- Speech — trouble speaking; slurred or difficult speech
- Time — Note the time when symptoms start: Time lost equals brain lost.
*Adapted from Intermountain Healthcare. BE FAST was developed by Intermountain Healthcare, as an adaptation of the FAST model implemented by the American Stroke Association. Reproduced with permission from Intermountain Healthcare. Copyright 2011, Intermountain Healthcare.