ERs open for emergencies during pandemic

May 7, 2020

man-er-659-x-519TUCSON – Hospital emergency rooms in southern Arizona are open, and doctors want the public to know that delaying emergency treatment can result in additional health complications, especially in the case of heart attack and stroke.

“It’s important we let our community know that we are still here and ready to care for those who need medical attention. Accidents and medical emergencies don’t stop from happening at any moment, even during the coronavirus pandemic,” says Dr. Merlin Curry, Emergency Services Medical Director at Carondelet St. Joseph’s and St. Mary’s Hospitals.

“No one should be delaying the care that they need, patients should feel reassured that our associates are ready and safe to help them,” explains Dr. Curry. “We are here for our community, as we were before the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to provide compassionate and expedited care to all of those who need it.”

 Q: Are the emergency rooms at Carondelet hospitals open?

A: Most definitely. Yes.

Q: When should patients come to the ER?  

A: Don’t delay care if you or a loved one have symptoms that are best evaluated in an emergency room. Call 911 if think a heart attack or stroke is suspected. Examples of things that need emergency care include broken bones, cuts that may require stitches, head or eye injury, shortness of breath. The key is that you don’t wait when you think you are having an emergency.

Q: How does the hospital ensure the safety of ER patients?

A: We screen all people coming to our facilities and limit entry to the hospital, and have enacted visitation restrictions. Our medical professional screeners ask a set of questions and check the temperature on everyone entering the hospital. Anyone that meets potential COVID criteria is immediately isolated to protect everyone in the hospital.

Q: If a pregnant woman is close to her delivery date, can she go to the ER if she’s having contractions?

A: Yes, she most certainly can. If not an emergency we encourage coordinating with your obstetrician.

Q: How can patients protect themselves from COVID-19 exposure if they need to go to the ER?

A: We have plenty of masks, hand sanitizer, hand soap, space and isolation rooms to keep our patients safe. If waiting to enter the facility, please try to keep six feet apart and wear your home mask if possible. I have yet to see a significant line at any entry point at any of the Carondelet facilities.

Q: Can a patient bring a companion in the ER?

A: Only in certain circumstances, if they are a parent/guardian, in emergency end of life events and when a patient cannot provide a history for themselves. We are limiting visitation to protect the community and our patients.

Q: Can a parent accompany their child to the ER?

A: Yes. Typically, only one parent is allowed at a time to reduce risk of transmission.

Q: If a patient has COVID-19 symptoms, can he/she go directly to the ER?

A: Yes, they can go directly to the emergency department. If possible, we ask that you wear a mask when you are traveling to the ER. We encourage you to come when you have shortness of breath, high fever that doesn’t respond to acetaminophen or ibuprofen, dizziness, confusion or other symptoms that are concerning.

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