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Why going to ER in time of pandemic is very important

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By Alithea De Jesus

While many are still wary to go to the hospital and seek a medical emergency due to the fear of being infected by the coronavirus, this attitude endangers one’s health and also risks a person’s life or long-term health problems.

Thus the situation that leads to the quandary of a patient posed the risks of “life or limb.” The new normal might have already settled in due to COVID-19 but the top hospital in the Philippines Makati Medical Center (MakatiMed) reminds everyone that it is better to adopt a Healthy Normal, and this includes seeking immediate care for any medical condition that falls under an emergency. 

According to Gabriel Gabriel, MD, Chairperson of the Emergency Department (ED) at MakatiMed, “It’s even more important to seek urgent medical attention if you are experiencing life-threatening emergencies like possible stroke or heart attack, sudden or severe pain, uncontrolled bleeding, and persistent vomiting.” He continues, “Pandemic or not, an emergency requires going to the hospital, and doing so without delay.”

MakatiMed has implemented strict Always Safe protocols to ensure that those going to the hospital’s ED will have no exposure and interaction with suspected COVID-19 patients.

The ED has been divided into two sections: Hot Zone for those at high risk of the virus and Cold Zone for those at low risk. Stricter guidelines are in place at the triage where all patients consulting at the ED are screened prior to entering. They are then classified based on the severity of their case and the symptoms presented.

Patients who show COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough, colds, body aches or pain, and flu-like illness or those who have traveled to countries with high cases are placed in the Hot Zone. Patients consulting for non-COVID-19- related emergencies are then placed in the Cold Zone and are managed by a dedicated ED personnel to avoid contamination between sections. 

All patients who are admitted through the ED must also undergo COVID-19 Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) swab test. Swab results must be negative prior to admission to a non-COVID-19 room. This hospital protocol was implemented to avoid the increase in community transmission as part of the hospital’s stringent infection prevention control protocols. 

The ED and all other centers in MakatiMed also observe physical distancing as it has been identified as an important practice in reducing the transmission of the virus. This is why the ED has also adjusted the distance between the patient beds as well as marked the seats in the waiting area.

No additional patients are taken in unless the case reaches Level 1 or 2 of the Emergency Severity Index. Level 2 means that the patient is at high risk of deterioration or they are showing signs of a time-critical problem, while Level 1 means they need immediate, life-saving intervention.

It is not unusual for people to be afraid of going to the hospital given the current situation, but they should be more afraid of situations that directly threaten their lives or the lives of their loved ones. Do not delay your emergency medical treatments. The pandemic has not changed the fact that in case of an emergency, it is still safest to go to the hospital to seek immediate medical care.

For more information, please contact MakatiMed On-Call at +632 8888 8999, email, or visit

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