There are certain things in life you should not wait for – If a fire starts in your home, don’t wait to put it out; if your car breaks down in the middle of the road, don’t wait to call for help.
This same sentiment applies if you are experiencing an urgent medical emergency; don’t wait to seek care.
Ann Brooker of Williamsville NY, experienced a serious medical scare last month and is glad she sought care when she did.
On Sunday, April 19, Ann and her husband enjoyed a nice dinner, relaxed a bit, and then headed up to bed. At around 9 p.m., Ann began experiencing excruciating pain in her abdomen. The pain persisted, but she was hesitant to seek care as she was fearful of the risk presented by the coronavirus. Ann said, “Of course COVID-19 crossed my mind, I would be lying if I say it didn’t. I was definitely hesitant, but the pain just was not going away. I began to vomit more and more frequently. I knew something was wrong. I called Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital to ask if it was safe to come in, and they assured me it was and encouraged me to come in as soon as possible.”
Ann is not alone in her hesitancy. It was reported that Kaleida Health’s hospitals have seen significant drops in emergency room visits in April compared to the same time last year. People in our community – and even across the country – are delaying seeking out medical care due to fear of coronavirus.
However, upon her arrival, Ann was impressed by just how much her safety was prioritized. She said, “When my husband and I arrived, we had our masks on and were asked a few screening questions by staff at the entryway. They also took our temperatures. It felt reassuring that they took these precautions, not letting just anyone enter. It definitely makes you feel safer.”
Shortly after, a dehydrated and weak Ann was admitted as a patient in the ER. Tests were conducted to determine what was causing her discomfort. She added, “Everyone was just super accommodating. They knew I was in a lot of pain and did everything they could to make me feel more comfortable. Although I was a little scared, I felt safe the entire time and like I was in good hands.”
The test results indicated that Ann’s gallbladder was severely inflamed. Ann was treated by colorectal surgeon, Dr. Timothy Adams, he notes, “It’s very important not to wait if you’re experiencing gallbladder pain, or really any pain for that matter. With gallbladders, the more inflamed that they become, the greater the risk of complications.”
She was scheduled for gallbladder surgery the next day. Ann noted, “I was so glad they were able to find out what was wrong so quickly. They kept me in the loop the entire time as I waited for test results. Once they determined the issue, they explained the procedure to me and answered any questions I had. I am so lucky I didn’t wait to seek out care. I don’t even want to know what could have happened had I waited.”
Her surgery was successful, and after a brief recovery, she was sent home to continue to rest and heal.
More than a month has gone by, but Ann’s gratitude remains strong. “I’m thankful for my entire care team at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital.” She adds, “If you’re in pain, don’t wait! Your health is truly the most important thing. It’s safe to seek care; you’re in good hands. Please, learn from me. Don’t wait another minute. Every minute matters.”
Dr. Adams adds, “Patients should feel confident and comfortable seeking care. All of the extra safety precautions are in place and we’re here for you. We’re here to provide you with the best care possible.”
Kaleida Health’s Emergency Rooms at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Buffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular Institute, DeGraff Memorial Hospital and John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital remain open for your urgent medical needs. Current wait times for each facility can be found at www.kaleidahealth.org.
If your medical condition is not life-threatening, we encourage you to take advantage of telehealth services, including ER video visits. Please visit www.kaleidahealth.org/videovisits to learn more about Kaleida Health’s telehealth services.