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Corona crisis: hospital patient numbers declining due to corona fear?

Corona crisis: hospital patient numbers declining due to corona fear?


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Doctors are seeing a decline in the number of patients in emergency admissions

The question arose weeks ago why, despite the Corona crisis, so many hospitals are still empty. This could have to do with the fact that many people with serious injuries or illnesses no longer come for treatment because they are afraid of catching the virus.

In mid-March, it was decided that all planned recordings, operations and procedures in German hospitals, as far as this is medically justifiable, should be postponed indefinitely. This is to ensure that there is sufficient capacity for the treatment of coronavirus diseases (COVID-19). But many hospitals are underutilized. In the meantime, short-time work has even been partially registered for clinics. In Leipzig, emergency physicians are also seeing a decline in the number of patients.

Get necessary medical care

As the University Hospital Leipzig (UKL) wrote in a message, the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and the lung disease COVID-19 currently dominate the news situation in Leipzig and all of Germany.

It is almost forgotten that many people continue to suffer from other illnesses or injuries. A decrease in the number of patients is currently being recorded in the UKL's central emergency department. This coincides with observations of other large emergency rooms across Germany.

In the event of acute serious health complaints or in the event of a medical emergency, those affected should currently make use of the necessary medical care, so the doctors of the UKL appeal.

Concerns are completely unnecessary

"At the moment we don't know exactly why the decline is really due," said Prof. André Gries, medical director of the Central Emergency Department (ZNA) and spokesman for the Cardiac Arrest Center (CAC) at UKL.

"It may be a result of the shutdown, many people are less active and stay at home for a longer period of time."

However, there are indications that some in the current corona situation have waited longer and are concerned about introducing themselves to acute health problems or calling emergency services, explains Prof. Gries.

From the point of view of the UKL emergency doctor, these concerns are completely unnecessary: ​​"Everyone should continue to call the emergency services or go to the central emergency department for relevant health problems such as strokes, heart attacks or acute traumas," he explains.

Although many planned interventions and operations have been canceled and the corona situation has led to restrictions in everyday clinical practice, all resources for emergency care are fully available at the UKL, emphasizes the doctor.

All established treatment paths, for example for cardiovascular diseases within the framework of the CAC or for other diseases as well as injuries, would work at any time.

Nobody should refrain from visiting a doctor for fear of Corona

"The risk of infection with the coronavirus in the hospital is extremely low," says Gries. "It is much more unfavorable if acute medical problems are now procrastinated for fear of corona and exacerbated by non-treatment."

When a patient arrives at the central emergency department, but also through the emergency services, the UKL expert explains immediately that there is a risk of COVID 19.

In a positive case, this patient would be separated immediately so that he or she could not come into contact with other patients.

"We have taken comprehensive protective measures and they work," says Prof. André Gries. "Nobody should refrain from visiting a doctor out of fear."

The current development of the number of patients in the emergency department during the corona crisis is now also being examined in a study. The results should serve to counteract this at an early stage and to avoid delays in the necessary emergency medical treatment. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Swell:

  • Universitätsklinikum Leipzig (UKL): In corona times: UKL emergency physicians observe a decline in the number of patients, (access: April 19, 2020), Universitätsklinikum Leipzig (UKL)


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