Don’t delay calling 911 during a health emergency, EMS providers say

Image/Michigan Association of Ambulance Services

Posted Saturday, May 9, 2020

Michigan residents should not risk their lives in a health emergency by avoiding calling 911 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan’s ambulance providers said recently.

The Michigan Association of Ambulance Services, and its member EMS agencies who serve 67 percent of Michigan counties, are seeing a troubling trend of people fearing to call 911 for heart attacks, strokes and other medical emergencies.

“We don’t want to see people develop a permanent medical disability or die needlessly due to fear of COVID or burdening the medical system,” said Jack Fisher, MAAS president and executive director of Medic 1 Ambulance in Berrien County. “Every minute counts in a medical emergency and people should still call for help, even during this pandemic.”

Michigan is not alone in this dangerous trend. Modern Healthcare reported that an American College of Emergency Physicians poll at the end of April found that 29 percent of those surveyed said they avoided medical care due to COVID-19 concerns. In another survey by Morning Consult, 75 percent of Americans surveyed said they avoided healthcare because they were concerned about stressing the system.

Michigan’s ambulance providers are prepared to safely care for patients with medical emergencies with protective gear and disinfecting protocols in place. EMS professionals are urging residents not jeopardize their health by avoiding calling for assistance.

“Individuals did not stop having heart attacks and strokes with the coronavirus appeared,” said Ron Slagell, president and CEO of Huron Valley Ambulance and past-president of MAAS. “While it’s important to take the pandemic seriously, signs of serious health problems should not be ignored or pushed off.”

The Michigan Association of Ambulance Services is a statewide trade association representing and advocating for ambulance services. Last year, MAAS members were responsible for more than 700,000 or 56 percent of ambulance transports in 2018. MAAS members also provide community paramedicine, ER diversion and 911.
services in several areas of Michigan.

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Source: Michigan Association of Ambulance Services



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