As COVID-19 cases continue to increase and strain emergency departments nationwide, a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) suggests ER visits in April were down 42 percent compared to the same period last year. Yet, heart attacks and strokes haven’t stopped for COVID-19. To combat this alarming trend, the American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, and Capital Health took action and 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.
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’re 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. This campaign is geared toward minimizing hesitation to call 9-1-1 in an emergency,“ said Gina Petrone Mumolie, DNP, MBA, RN NEA-BC, Sr. VP Hospital Administration, Capital Health and board member for the American Heart Association South-Central New Jersey. “Emergency responders, as well as doctors and nurses at the hospital, know what to do even when things seem chaotic and emergency departments have made plans behind the scenes including screening for COVID-19 symptoms, treating coronavirus patients in separate areas and increased cleaning protocols to keep patients and workers safe.”
For more about this campaign and community resources, visit www.heart.org/dontdieofdoubt.
Senior communications director for the American Heart Association in New Jersey, Lehigh Valley and Northeast PA. Dedicated to being a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.