State Officials Urge Michigan Residents Not to Delay Emergency Care

After perusing data reflecting “an alarming increase” in out-of-hospital deaths between March and May of this year, state officials are issuing an urgent message encouraging Michigan residents to not delay emergency medical care.

Berrien County’s Medic 1 Ambulance Chief Jack Fisher, who also serves as President of the Michigan Association of Ambulance Services is joining Michigan’s Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive of the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, in citing the alarming increase in medical emergencies and deaths outside of the hospital realm with the message to take care of your health when such emergencies arise.

To help combat the alarming increase, Dr. Khaldun says, “It is incredibly important that people not delay care, especially if they are having concerning symptoms like chest pain, difficulty breathing or dizziness.” She adds, “Hospitals and EMS providers are working hard to keep patients safe, so please contact them if you are having a medical emergency.”

Jack Fisher says, “Medical emergencies have not gone away during the pandemic and Michigan EMS providers are standing by to help Michiganders safely get the lifesaving help they need.”He reminds everyone that, “Every minute counts in a medical emergency and we hope this alarming trend of people avoiding care and dying needlessly doesn’t continue.”

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Data from Michigan EMS agencies from March 15th to May 23rd, 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, show:

  • Out-of-hospital cardiac arrests increased 43.3-percent.
  • Out-of-hospital deaths recorded by EMS increased 62-percent.
  • Statewide EMS transports decreased 17-percent.
  • Transports of heart attack (or STEMI) patients decreased nearly 10-percent.
  • Transports of stroke patients decreased 12.1-percent.

Michigan’s EMS providers are prepared to safely care for patients with additional protective gear and disinfecting protocols in place, according to Michigan Association of Ambulance Services (MAAS).

Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported emergency department visits declined by 42-percent during the early months of the pandemic with a 23-percent decrease in emergency visits for heart attacks and a 20-percent decrease for stroke in the 10 weeks following the declaration of a national emergency due to COVID-19.