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The hidden risks of coronavirus


Sponsored by Mercy Heart Center

While most of us are aware of the well-reported effects of COVID-19, there may be additional, “hidden” risks associated with the virus, as well. Namely, in trying to avoid contact with others, patients may be putting themselves at risk by not seeking care early for their health concerns.


Mercy Emergency Department Medical Director, Matt Aucutt, DO, said he was seeing a trend of people putting off the care they needed. The patients that do come in for emergent care are presenting later in their illness and are often times sicker. Dr. Aucutt said that the longer that patients put off their healthcare, the sicker patients are becoming, and their illnesses more difficult to treat.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), patients who delay or avoid medical care, are at increased risk for illnesses and death if they have ongoing and/or serious health conditions. In fact, in June 2020, about 41% of adults in the U.S. had delayed or avoided medical care, including 12% of urgent or emergency visits, as well as 32% of routine visits. The CDC report also found that four out of 10 adults chose not to receive medical care because of COVID-19.


While COVID-19 is still prevalent, your health is a priority whether you think your health concerns are minor or not. With that in mind, Dr. Aucutt encourages the public to come in right away when experiencing a medical emergency. While some patients are able to utilize telehealth to see their healthcare provider, there are certain assessments and diagnostic tests that are only available in the ER to determine the severity of the illness and then start treatment right away.


If you have health concerns, don’t put off the care you need due to the pandemic; avoiding your health problems now could lead to major complications later. If you’re in need of emergent care, Mercy is ready to serve you safely at not just one, but two emergency room locations — Hiawatha Medical Park or Mercy Medical Center. And, at all Mercy and MercyCare locations — including both Mercy ERs — patients, visitors and staff are screened prior to entery. This includes answering several questions relating to COVID-19 and having their temperature taken. Patients and visitors are required to wear masks, and ER staff wear N95 masks and face shields. Furthermore, all locations are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized throughout the day to ensure a safe environment. In addition to the cleaning and sanitizing done by Mercy’s Environmental Services staff, the hospital also has ultraviolet, c-wave (UV-C) light disinfectors. The UV-C rays from the machines are effective in destroying microorganisms.


Both fully equipped Mercy ERs are open 24/7 and the Hiawatha ER is staffed by the same doctors, nurses and Mercy staff you would see at the hospital.


The Hiawatha ER — the first of its kind in Iowa — is simply another convenient location to visit when you need emergency care fast. And, just like the ER located in the hospital, the Hiawatha ER also includes an on-site lab and imaging center, so patients can receive the care they need instantly. Check out this virtual tour of the Hiawatha ER to learn more.


Then, if necessary, patients can be transported from the Hiawatha ER to the ER at Mercy by ambulance — free of charge — where they’ll have immediate access to the operating room, catheterization lab or an inpatient room.


Mercy has the area’s fastest ER — at both locations — and is designed to get you in and out quickly. Trust your Mercy team to provide the care you need so your health doesn’t escalate to something more serious.




Sponsored by Mercy Heart Center

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