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Acadian Ambulance: More patients refusing medical transport due to COVID-19 fears

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Posted at 11:03 AM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 12:03:52-04

More patients are reportedly refusing medical transportation to hospitals due to fears of becoming infected with COVID-19.

Acadian Ambulance reports that medics and ambulance services have reported a greater number of patients refusing transport to hospitals for needed care against the advice of emergency medical professionals.

The refusal for hospital care out of fear, they said, is putting the lives and health of patients in jeopardy.

"I'm fearful that patients don't understand that they are putting themselves at greater risk by not allowing us to bring them to hospitals when their conditions require transport and emergency department evaluation," said Acadian Ambulance Chief Medical Officer Dr. Charles Burnell. "While the fear of being transported to a hospital is understandable based on the limited information people are exposed to on the national news, it is, for the most part, unwarranted and can greatly endanger the patient."

Hospitals like Our Lady of Lourdes and Lafayette General Health say they are taking extreme precautions to disinfect and segregate potential and confirmed COVID patients from contact with other patients or those entering facilities and emergency rooms.

According to Acadian, patients should follow the advice of paramedics when they suggest a trip to the hospital.

"Our EMTs and paramedics have dedicated their lives to saving others. They will not advise transport unless they feel it is necessary," Burnell said. "The possibility of a bad health outcome from refusing to be brought to a hospital when an emergency is identified is much, much greater than the risk of contracting COVID-19 at a hospital.

Acadian Chairman & CEO Richard Zuschlag said that since the pandemic started, Acadian has seen an 18 percent increase in people refusing to be brought to hospitals.

"Every day, I hear from our medics who are scared for their patients who are refusing much-needed care for concern of contracting COVID-19 at hospitals. They don't understand that the risk of not seeking care is much greater than the risk of contracting the virus," said Zuschlag.

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