Chicago ERs Are Open, Safe for People With Serious Medical Issues

By Meeta Shah, MD

I know this is a frightening time, and as an emergency physician, I commend everyone for heeding recommendations to stay home and stay safe. Everyone’s efforts are truly bending the curve, and we health care workers thank you for this.

However, I implore anyone who is having a true medical emergency (and who is not a COVID-19 patient) to please break that rule. We are still here for you 24/7, and you do not need to fear your health or safety walking through our doors if you truly need us. We will protect you.

Don't ignore health emergencies

A few days ago, I treated a polite and quiet woman who stayed at home for almost eight hours with her chest pain until she felt “absolutely sure” she needed to leave her home and seek care. Had she waited much longer, we would have been without this kind soul.

I have heard tale after tale from my colleagues of patients showing up days after suffering from strokelike symptoms, severely high blood sugar or smoldering heart failure exacerbation.

Of course, for less emergent issues, there are other health care settings for seeking medical care, like your primary care provider or telemedicine services. But I promise you, we are here should you need us, and once you enter our doors, we will keep you safe from the coronavirus.

Chicago emergency department teams have taken every precaution to protect you while we care for you.

Meeta Shah, MD, is an emergency medical physician at Rush University Medical Center. This originally appeared as a letter to the editor in the Chicago Tribune.

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