COVID fears continue to affect admissions to local hospitals: Tallahassee Memorial Hospital

Emergency rooms across the country and in Tallahassee remain mostly empty, as fear of the coronavirus keeps many people away. One of the best cardiologists at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital shared his thoughts on the situation at his facility.
Like almost all other healthcare professionals today, Dr. Thomas Noel is concerned about the threat that COVID-19 represents. But you are also concerned about those patients you are not seeing because of the pandemic. Patients who are not going to get the care they desperately need.

“It is very concerning to our community that there has been a reduction in visits to the emergency room and those patients who really need to be cared for. Unfortunately, that has led to worse outcomes for those who have delayed care, specifically those who have had a heart attack, “he observed.

Matters of the heart being Dr. Noel’s specialty, he emphasized that when it comes to cardiovascular issues, time is always of the essence.

“It’s not always a mortality issue, but as you know when you have a heart attack, the biggest concern is not just survival, but how much damage happens to the heart. And what we’ve seen nationally and I think even in our community
is that patients show up later, delaying the decision to go to the emergency room because they are concerned about the coronavirus. And sadly, for some people it has cost them their lives because of that decision. “

At least part of that patient’s reluctance, Dr. Noel opined, is the mistaken belief that local hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases.

“In Tallahassee we have been very fortunate. Some of that has been done with luck and part of our community where we have not had the severity of the coronavirus that you have seen in other communities. So we feel very comfortable with our patients entering the ward emergency to be evaluated and we have developed a system to try to care for those patients specifically concerned about the coronavirus and keep those patients who do not have coronavirus safe. “

He said that special protocols keep COVID positive and negative patient groups totally isolated from each other.

“The detection mechanism occurs even before the patient enters the door. Therefore, there are mechanisms that continue to divide that population of patients so that they remain separate. That provides that security mechanism for the patient, members of the family and staff working at TMH. “

At the same time, Dr. Noel insisted that the hospital has the ability to care for more coronavirus patients, even as new case numbers across the state are now hovering around the 4,000-5,000 mark each day.

“Even with the increase in diagnosis to this day, we have not seen that large influx of patient population in the hospital. Could that change over time? Absolutely! But what it has allowed us to do is prepare our hospital I think. “We didn’t know what we could do to try to keep patient populations safe; those with coronaviruses and those without coronaviruses who need not only cardiovascular care, but any kind of emergency services. “

In a nutshell, Dr. Thomas Noel of Tallahassee Memorial Hospital concluded:

“It is really important that patients do not avoid their symptoms despite their fear of the unknown, that TMH has done a good job as a hospital to prepare the community and be prepared for the needs of the community when they have an emergency and that we they’re open and ready to take care of them. “

That means the same essential message comes from Tallahassee’s two full-service hospitals.