At times during the pandemic, patients with stroke and heart attack symptoms have been waiting to go to emergency rooms because they're afraid of contracting COVID-19. That’s dangerous, and can be a fatal decision.

Dr. eric deshaies
Dr. Eric Deshaies

By delaying that time, patients are minimizing their chances of receiving potential life-saving treatment. Before COVID-19, most patients with stroke symptoms arrived at a Novant Health medical center within a few hours of becoming ill. At one point during the pandemic, the average was 19 hours, according to Dr. Eric Deshaies, a Novant Health neurosurgeon.

“People who do the best are the people who get to the hospital within three hours,” Deshaies said. “Time is brain and the faster they get in to see us and get treated, then the more likely they are to have a full recovery.”

Patients dealing with a stroke is serious enough. They shouldn’t be concerned with coronavirus in any Novant Health emergency departments.

“Everyone has been properly trained and we have all the necessary protective equipment to protect both our patients and our staff members from contracting and from spreading coronavirus,” Deshaies said.

Every minute you delay care could be costing you brain cells, and may be the difference between a recovery that allows you to live the life you want, or spending the rest of your life with a disability.

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