The American Heart Association and Yale New Haven Health respond to alarming drop in 9-1-1 calls fueled by COVID-19 fears

New campaign, Don’t Die of Doubt™, emphasizes symptoms of heart attack and stroke, need to access care by calling 9-1-1 even during pandemic

Throughout the pandemic, patients have been hesitant to visit the Emergency Room for medical care. Yet, heart attacks and strokes haven’t stopped for COVID-19. Yale New Haven Hospital’s Heart and Vascular program saw a drop in patients coming to the Emergency Department for treatment of stroke and heart attack. To combat this alarming trend, the American Heart Association (AHA), the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all created a new public awareness campaign called, “Don’t Die of Doubt,” that urges people to call 9-1-1 and seek emergency medical care at the hospital if experiencing symptoms of a heart attack or a stroke. Yale New Haven Health Heart and Vascular is proud to be a part of the AHA campaign.

The campaign emphasizes that the best chance to survive an acute event, like a heart attack or stroke, is to call 9-1-1 and get an ambulance to the hospital where they are fully prepared to treat you safely. Hospitals are still the safest place to be during a medical emergency.

With news coverage of coronavirus cases still fueling fear of using emergency medical services, there is a critical need to reach everyone across the country with reassurance. People can receive safe care for heart attack or stroke symptoms, and other urgent medical needs, in hospitals.

When it comes to surviving a heart attack or a stroke, seconds count, and so doubting symptoms, and thereby delaying care, may prove deadly.

“Heart attack and stroke symptoms are always urgent. The AHA campaign is geared toward minimizing hesitation to call 9-1-1 in an emergency,“ said Francine LoRusso, MHA, RN, VP and executive director for Heart and Vascular Services, Transplantation Center and Medicine, Yale New Haven Hospital. “Our physicians and nurses know what to do even when things seem chaotic. At all of our facilities, including the Emergency Departments, we have increased efforts to keep our patients, visitors and healthcare professionals safe. These include screening, testing, cleaning, designated patient care areas and social distancing.”

Yale New Haven Health’s support of the American Heart Association’s mission will continue after the Don’t Die of Doubt campaign, with more events, also representative of the Yale New Haven Health Heart and Vascular Center, being planned for over the next 12 months.

For more about this campaign and community resources, visit

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About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.