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Doctor: Time-sensitive diseases need immediate attention -- even during coronavirus pandemic

Hospitals assure patients, it’s safe to go to the emergency room

Doctor: Time-sensitive diseases need immediate attention -- even during pandemic
Doctor: Time-sensitive diseases need immediate attention -- even during pandemic

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Just a few weeks ago emergency departments at hospitals like Mt. Sinai on Miami Beach were bustling with activity.

“Emergency medicine in American means we’re taking care, we’re the safety net, so every day we’re very busy,” said Dr. David Farcy, Chairman of Emergency Medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Miami Beach.

Then the pandemic hit and many with serious emergent needs stayed away, possibly putting their health and their lives at risk.

“If you have a stroke, if you have a heart attack, if you wait too long on what’s called ‘time-sensitive’ disease, you can have a permanent disability or even worse, death,” said Farcy.

Farcy said the initial message of “please don’t overwhelm our healthcare system” is now changing as the initial threat subsides.

Hospitals like this around the country are prepared with new protocols to protect both patients and medical professionals with efforts including temperature checks, pre-screening questions, mask requirements and social distancing.

“And then we identify the patient immediately if they have an infection of any type or suspicion, we isolate them and all the other patients are moved to another wing of our department,” Farcy said.

As part of CDC guidelines there are no visitors allowed, a restriction intended to reduce the risk of infection and the amount of personal protective equipment or PPE used by the hospital.

“All the policies we’re following, the CDC and our administration, has done a phenomenal job of making sure that residents of Miami Beach and our visitors are receiving the best of care,” Farcy said.

Moving forward, Farcy said it’s important that the public know that emergency rooms are prepared with both staffing and patient protection for anyone needing true emergent care.

About the Authors:

Kristi Krueger has built a solid reputation as an award-winning medical reporter and effervescent anchor. She joined Local 10 in August 1993. After many years co-anchoring the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., Kristi now co-anchors the noon newscasts, giving her more time in the evening with her family.

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.