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Doctors say stroke patients avoiding hospital due to fear of COVID-19

Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 5:04 PM CDT
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(WZAW) - As the country continues to fight the Coronavirus pandemic, hospitals are reporting a recent decline in the number of stroke cases arriving in their emergency rooms. Some health experts suspect that fear of COVID-19 may be causing people to avoid going to the hospital or calling 911 for non-COVID related medical emergencies, like stroke. Dr. Patrick Lyden, professor of Neurology at Cedars-Sinai, joins Holly Chilsen on the Deep Bench.

When it comes to stroke, it’s critical that you don’t hesitate to call 911. Seeking emergency care at the first sign of stroke should not be delayed, he says. Emergency healthcare providers are working tirelessly to provide care for those who need it, including people showing signs of stroke, and they are taking steps to keep all patients safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The signs of stroke can be subtle and hard to recognize, so educating yourself and others is key to noticing and responding quickly. He says you should familiarize yourself with the acronym BE FAST, which stands for balance, eyes, face, arm, speech, time – the sudden onset of any of these signs could mean that someone is having a stroke. It’s important to BE FAST when you suspect stroke and call 911 right away. A stroke can happen to anyone, of any age, at any time, according to Dr. Lyden.

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