By Heidi Smith, Contributor
Physicians associated with Venice Regional Bayfront Health are urging the local community to seek emergency medical care when needed – without delay.
If you experience a medical emergency such as chest pain that may be a heart attack or stroke symptoms, getting timely care will support the best possible outcome. As the hospital responds to COVID-19 it is taking extra precautions, going above and beyond all normal efforts, to keep the hospital and clinics clean and safe for patients and caregivers.
The latest campaign by the American Heart Association (AHA) – Be Certain In Uncertain Times – reinforces the critical need to secure treatment as soon as possible. The AHA is working to remind everyone that heart attacks, strokes and cardiac arrests don’t stop for COVID-19.
“Safety remains the hospital’s highest priority and we have taken action to enhance infection prevention, restrict access to the facility and support social distancing to maintain a safe environment for patients who need medical care,” said John Galat, M.D., a cardiothoracic surgeon who leads Venice Regional’s open-heart surgery program. “Our Emergency Department and cardiac team have continued to safely care for patients requiring diagnosis, treatment and surgery for heart attacks and stroke, while following strict COVID-19 protocols.”
“Chest pain, stroke symptoms and difficulty breathing can be life threatening. Delaying care can have serious consequences. People experiencing those symptoms should call 911 without hesitation,” said Scott Fell, D.O., emergency department medical director, “Our team of board certified emergency physicians along with highly skilled nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and emergency technicians know what to do to protect and care for you. Emergencies don’t stop for COVID-19.”
Many safety precautions are in place at Venice Regional, the Venice HealthPark outpatient surgery center and Gulf Coast Medical Group practices.
All who enter the buildings, including staff, are screened, and all employees, physicians and patients are expected to wear masks. Care for any individuals with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 is delivered in a restricted, separate area away from other patients. Cleaning and disinfection are emphasized in caregiving areas and throughout the facilities, including high-touch items like door handles, elevator buttons, tables and chairs.
“Getting fast medical treatment could be the difference between life and death,” said Dr. Galat. “We ask everyone to pay attention to the signs of a health emergency and act quickly. Call 911, go to the hospital, and get the help you need.”
KNOW THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
• Chest discomfort.
• Discomfort in other areas of the upper body.
• Shortness of breath.
• Other possible signs include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
• Women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain. Some women are more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
Remember to act F.A.S.T. for Stroke
• Face drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb?
• Arm weakness: Is one arm weak or numb?
• Speech difficulty: Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand?
• If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get them to the hospital immediately.
• Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly.
• Within seconds a person becomes unresponsive, is not breathing or is only gasping.
• Survival depends on getting immediate CPR.
Call 941.486.6790 or visit