FAQs: COVID-19 and Emergency Care
Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital's emergency department has put many safety measures into place to provide the safest possible environment for patient care.
Why should I visit the hospital if I have an emergency?
If you have a medical emergency, it’s important to visit the nearest emergency department (ED) as soon as possible. A medical issue that requires immediate care may worsen without attention and proper treatment from an emergency care team. Seeking out care when every minute counts has never been more important.
"If you are experiencing chest pain or a worsening headache, please do not delay emergency care as these delays can lead to heart attack, stroke or even death," says Robin Powell, Nursing Director of the Emergency Department at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital. "If you are experiencing an emergency, please visit us for emergency care."
What medical conditions require emergency care?
If you or someone you know is experiencing these signs or symptoms, it’s important to seek emergency care right away:
- Any sudden or severe pain, including sudden or severe headache
- Change in mental status, confusion or unusual behavior or suicidal thoughts
- Coughing or throwing up blood
- Heavy bleeding that can’t be controlled
- Loss of consciousness
- Severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhea
- Trouble breathing or speaking
- New onset arm or leg weakness, facial droop or change in speech
Other conditions that require emergency care include:
- A significant accident or injury, including a severe burn, cut, blow to the head or fall
- Drug overdose
- Severe allergic reaction
- Mental health emergency
People with COVID-19 can experience a variety of symptoms. If you or someone you know experiences any of the following, seek immediate medical attention:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
- Any other symptoms that are severe or concern you
Learn more about seeking care for medical emergencies during COVID-19.
What new tools may help improve patient safety in the emergency department?
The ED will be launching new digital technologies to help further improve safety and access to emergency care. We are developing a digital tool that will display wait times to allow patients to know how long they would have to wait to get emergency care at any given time. We are also developing a tool that will allow patients with less severe illnesses or injuries (like a swollen ankle) to schedule their own visit to the ED during times when it’s typically less busy (morning).