FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue data shows an alarming — and deadly — trend.
Comparing this year to last, more people are refusing to call 911, refusing emergency transport, or calling 911 too late, resulting in potentially preventable deaths.
Fear of going to the hospital amid the coronavirus pandemic is understandable, but health and rescue leaders say it’s not worth risking your life.
“By no means should people be so scared of catching a virus that they are dying at home from other underlying elements,” said Stephen Gollan, Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue battalion chief.
Healthcare providers from Broward Health and officials from Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue held a joint news conference Tuesday morning to raise awareness about the importance of still seeking medical help when needed.
Some of the people who have refused care had instances of heart attack, stroke and other issues where timing is essential in saving lives. Conditions that may have been treatable by paramedics, doctors or nurses are ending up fatal.
“Early access to medical care in this country is still the best thing that we have in order to treat people,” said Joshua Lenchus, Broward Heath’s chief medical officer.
Hospitals are taking numerous precautions to safely treat people with other health issues.
“They are provided a mask if they are not already wearing one. They do get tested when they come in to be admitted to the hospital or when they’re going to undergo a procedure,” Lenchus said.
Lenchus also noted that technology can help people scared they’ll be alone in the hospital with no visitors allowed.
“We have employed the use of technology in order to provide virtual visits for family members,” he said.