Baker launches PSA with 5 Mass. hospitals urging people with medical emergencies to not delay care

BOSTON — Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker says too many people are delaying emergency room visits for serious, potentially life-threatening care.

On Thursday, six of Massachusetts’ biggest hospitals joined Governor Baker at his daily press conference.

The statistics they released are alarming.

Hospital’s Emergency Departments have seen a 48% decrease in patients within the last few months. At Bay State Medical Center in Western Massachusetts, emergency visits among children are from over 100 a day to just over 20.

Doctors are warning people, do not delay emergency care.

“We need to avoid a second toll of the pandemic,” Gregg Meyer Chief Clinical Technician for Partners Healthcare said.

Doctors say those who are truly sick are waiting until it’s too late. When stroke patients arrive doctors say it’s often past the point of preventing severe neurological damage. Also, people with kidney issues are dying due to waiting too long to be seen.

"Our concerns are that fear is leading to adverse outcomes,” Michael Apkon, President and CEO of Tufts Medical Center said.

Hospitals have also seen an increase in amputations due to patients with vascular disease not seeking care.

“I had one doctor tell me last week that he doesn’t remember doing this many amputations in he can’t remember how long,” Meyer said

The Governor and health care leaders want people to know that hospitals are safe and fully capable of treating non-coronavirus patients.

“If you’re sick. If you’re a victim of domestic abuse. We are here to help you. Call 911 or visit your nearest emergency room,” Apkon said.

Most hospitals hope to resume elective healthcare and surgeries by June.

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