‘I would rather suffer at home, than go to the hospital’: Many refusing to visit the emergency room due to COVID-19 concerns

'I would rather suffer at home, than go to the hospital': Many refusing to visit the emergency room due to COVID-19 concerns

BOSTON — Hospitals across the state are seeing far fewer patients in the emergency room due to concerns over contracting COVID-19 in hospitals.

Governor Charlie Baker and hospital officials are urging people not to sit in pain, saying there are enough beds to accommodate all patients. Boston 25 News spoke to two women who say they were so scared to go to the emergency room they would rather suffer at home.

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“I had a massive heart attack at 34 years old, and a triple heart bypass,” said Erika Perkins.

Erika Perkins is just one of many people across the state who is afraid to go to an emergency room.

Most recently, she had pain in her pancreas and refused to go to an area hospital in Seabrook, New Hampshire.

“They said, ‘Go get it check out, go get it checked out,’" said Perkins. “I said no.”

Perkins was scared she would get the coronavirus and infect her teenage son at home, who is diabetic.

During Thursday’s briefing with Baker and hospital officials they once again urged people to go to the hospital if they aren’t feeling well.

“We are seeing evidence that many people are avoiding seeking medical attention,” said Baker. “Our concerns is that fear is leading to adverse outcomes. One of the surgeons said to me last week that he has done more amputations in the last few weeks than he can ever remember.”

And, that’s because, doctors say, people are waiting too long to seek treatment.

Hospitals are seeing far fewer patients with heart conditions, kidney dialysis patients, and other serious conditions. The governor says, patients are delaying life-saving treatments in fear of catching the virus.

“They’re afraid that they are going to catch it at the hospital and they would rather take their chances home," said Deputy Fire Chief Glenn Johnson.

Auburn’s Deputy Fire Chief Glenn Johnson tells us they are getting close to two dozen calls a week with elderly patients who are afraid to go to the emergency room.

“I [was] hunched over the kitchen table, called 911," said Dr. Pam Walcott. “Ambulance came to get me, I just couldn’t handle it anymore.”

Walcott tells Boston 25 she was in pain for days and was terrified to go to the hospital. She ended up having appendicitis, and was admitted to Milford Regional Hospital.

When asked if she’s now encouraging other to visit the ER if needed, Walcott said, “absolutely, I’ve been hearing the stories of people not wanting to go. That could’ve been me.”

Walcott says she remembers seeing all the doctors and nurses with masks on and that it didn’t even feel like the coronavirus was going on. During the briefing today, Baker made it clear, there are 18-thousand beds available statewide.

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