A Cork GP has urged people not to ignore any health worries during the COVID-19 crisis, warning that 'we will have deaths' if people ignore symptoms like chest pain.
Dr Mary Favier, who is the President of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) said she was concerned that people may not be contacting their doctors, or presenting to hospital, with serious symptoms over concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.
“Hospitals are reporting that things like heart attacks, appendicitis, people presenting for the first time with diabetes are way down. I think people are scared to go to hospital.” she said.
“We have to ask where are the people with heart attacks going, are they staying at home with chest pain? People have symptoms and they are not doing anything about this. We will have deaths because of this."
Similar concerns have been voiced by the Irish Association of Emergency Medicine who have moved to assure patients that they should still present to hospital with emergency health issues.
“We have some concerns that patients, in particular the elderly, may be minded not to seek medical attention for conditions which genuinely require urgent medical intervention so it is important to emphasise that while facing the undeniable challenge of the COVID 19 pandemic, consultants in emergency medicine, doctors training to be consultants in emergency medicine, other doctors working in emergency departments (EDs), our ED nursing colleagues and other staff working in Irish EDs will continue to deliver care to the sick and injured as best they can on an on-going basis,” they said in a statement in recent days.
Dr Favier has now urged people not to neglect their health during the outbreak.
“Make contact at least,” she said. "Think twice before contacting a doctor, but don’t think a third time."
The Cork GP said it is also very important that childhood immunisations continue to proceed.
“Scheduled immunisations are going ahead, and we have been contacting people in our own practice to remind them to make an appointment for this even if they are only a few days behind,” she said.