November 30 2020 – Since the pandemic began, hospital emergency rooms are seeing less patients, and many who are arriving are much more ill. This is a growing national trend of patients ignoring symptoms and potential life-threatening emergencies instead of calling 911 or visiting the closest emergency room. Instead, they are resisting imminent critical care, or worse, dying at home, due to fears and anxiety about potential exposure to COVID-19. 
Physicians at Broward Health are urging patients with an acute health condition to promptly seek emergency care. 
“Please don’t avoid the hospital if you are in an emergency situation,” said Evan Boyar, M.D., district chief of emergency medicine at Broward Health. “We have all of the proper safety protocols and procedures in place in our emergency rooms and continue to isolate Covid-19 patients from other patients.  
“When we look at heart attack and stroke specifically, we see that are numbers are down significantly over last year. People didn’t stop having heart attacks and strokes, so that means they are choosing self-care at home, which in some circumstances is having lethal affects.” 
A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that those with underlying health conditions, unpaid caregivers, Black and Hispanic adults, young adults and those with disabilities were more likely to avoid urgent and emergency medical care. 
“You don’t know how the delay in medical care for a chronic or acute condition will impact your health,” said Boyar. “Patients cannot and should not suffer in silence. If it feels like an emergency, it is. We can’t help you unless you seek care. Your life and long-term health depend on it.”   
Broward Health prides itself on the experience of its emergency and trauma staff. Broward Health offers Level I and Level II trauma centers for pediatric and adult patients with emergency teams that can treat the most complex cases due to a multidisciplinary team prepared for all health crises, from car accidents and traumatic injuries, to stroke and cardiac events. Pediatric emergency physicians care for unique medical issues that children face, including broken bones, lacerations and severe illness. 
Broward Health continues to follow the following safety measures: 
Anyone entering a Broward Health hospital or facility will receive a COVID-19 screening, including Broward Health staff.  
Temperature checks are done with a no-contact forehead thermometer and anyone with a temperature of 100 degrees or higher will be redirected to a separate area. 
Anyone entering a Broward Health hospital or facility must wear a mask covering their nose and mouth. 
Enhanced sanitation measures, such as hand sanitizing stations and electrostatic spraying of disinfectants that kill COVID-19 in minutes, are found throughout the hospitals. 
All patients being admitted to the hospital will receive a COVID-19 test prior to their procedure. 
Rapid testing across the system allow COVID-19 patients to receive necessary care quickly and to be split into a separate area to ensure there is no contact with non-COVID patients. 
Restrictions are in place for patient visitation. 
Helpful visual markers help ensure social distancing. 
“Our emergency departments and hospitals are very safe,” said Boyar. “We have implemented extensive safety measures and adhere to the strictest guidelines in delivering the highest level of comprehensive care. The health and safety of our patients, caregivers and staff is our number one priority.”