coronavirus pandemic

MedStar Concerned with Decreased 911 Calls and Trend in Cardiac Arrest Patients

Fear of going to the hospital due to COVID-19 maybe the reason why people are not calling 911 in Fort Worth, according to MedStar.

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According to a recent MedStar analysis, since January, 911 calls are down 19% and ambulance transports to the hospital are down 30%.

“Our concern is that people are not calling, their medical conditions are getting worse, and by the time somebody calls, we’re getting there and it’s already too late. "They’re already in cardiac arrest," said Matt Zavadsky, Chief Strategic Integration Officer for MedStar.

Zavadsky said he's heard from the community that people are not calling for several reasons.

"What we’ve heard from our community about why they’re not calling 911 is, first, they're trying to do the right thing and preserve hospital capacity. hat was something we were trying to do early on. However, some people are also afraid to call 911 because they don’t want to necessarily go to the hospital [because] the coronavirus is there," Zavadsky explained. "Also, we’re hearing that because the hospitals are limiting visitors and it’s difficult for families to visit people in the hospital, they’re a little more resistant to go to the hospital.”

He said this has led to a concerning trend. Compared to 2019, this year, patients found by MedStar crews to be in cardiac arrest were up 12%. In April, MedStar crews responded to 38% more cardiac arrests compared to last year.

Of those patients found, 54% more patients were pronounced dead on scene by EMS crews in April 2020 compared to 2019.

"What we would like people to know is the 911 system, the EMS system is here for a reason, it’s here to help you. So, if you think you need medical evaluation, you think you’re not doing well, please call  us," Zavadsky said. "It doesn’t mean you’re going to have to go to the hospital, but at least help us assess you, determine what may be going on and give you the options of where you should get your medical care. It’s better to do that then to wait until it’s too late and we declare you dead on scene.”

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