Doctor warns against delaying emergency room trip due to COVID-19

Posted at 3:57 PM, Apr 13, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — An emergency room doctor is concerned because patients are waiting to go to the emergency room for life-threatening medical issues as they’re worried about getting COVID-19.

Dr. Marshall Hall is an emergency physician, and the medical director at TriStar Skyline Medical Center. He said his physicians have seen an uptick of patients who are delaying their emergency room visit 3 to 5 days which can be detrimental for heart attack and stroke patients.

“A couple of them gave me 3 or 4 cases just off the top of their head in the last couple days, where people had a fall or injury, they had chest pain, and they delayed coming in,” Dr. Hall said, “And when you delay coming in, it delays the diagnosis, and a lot of our treatments are time sensitive especially when it comes to cardiac problems or stroke problems.”

Dr. Hall understands people are scared of getting COVID-19, so they’ve taken precautions. “When you come in the first thing you’re going to notice is we have a screener at our front door, at every entrance throughout the hospital, we have somebody that’s going to be checking temperatures, asking about symptoms, and giving a mask to patients or family members when they come in.”

No visitors are allowed unless exceptions are made during a life-threatening situation. In addition, Dr. Hall said suspected COVID-19 patients are treated on a different floor.

“If you go on some of our floors, we’ve got some areas that are divided out among the rest of the floors that are for coronavirus patients, and we’re trying to sequester those patients away to keep our general population separated,” Hall said.

For minor illnesses, patients can contact local urgent cares or their doctor as many of them are now doing virtual appointments. ”Primary care physicians throughout TriStar, and through the region, are doing telehealth, so if you have a concern, and you think you may need to be evaluated, that is another option.”

At this time, all employees at Skyline Hospital are wearing masks and washing their hands more than usual.

“We want to do everything we can to maintain safety for our patients, and our staff," Hall said.