WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Some local pediatric emergency room doctors are sounding the alarm, saying some parents are waiting too long to bring their children into the hospital because they are afraid of catching COVID-19.
"It's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your child's health care," said Dr. Jasmine Nebhrajani, a pediatric emergency room physician at Palm Beach Children's Hospital in West Palm Beach. "We have seen a significant drop in patients."
SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus
Nebrhrajani attributes the drop in pediatric patients at the hospital stems from the fear of catching coronavirus.
"We have seen that patients are waiting a couple more days, which can mean a lot in the medical world to come into the emergency room for an acute condition," she said. "If the patient would have come in maybe two days before, then that outcome wouldn't have happened."
She said she's even having conversations with parents about putting fears over the virus aside when their children need to be admitted.
"We are doing a good job in trying to isolate patients that are suspected of having coronavirus or have tested positive," said Nebhrajani.
West Boca Medical Center Dr. Charles Jeanpierre, the medical director of the pediatric emergency room, said his hospital has experienced the same reduction in patients.
"We saw a dip in our numbers," he said. "There are some emergencies that they really cannot wait. If you wait longer for those emergencies, you are putting your kid more in danger."
He points to complications when it comes to waiting to seek treatment for asthma, diabetes, abdominal pain, appendicitis, just to name a few.
"What we are seeing now is because they are taking longer to bring a patient into the emergency room, most of them get admitted because didn't come early enough, so we can treat them," said Jeanpierre.
He also shared his thoughts on going to a hospital when the need arises.
"I feel safer for me to go to work than to go to a grocery store," he said. "When you go to a place that you know there has been screening going on, then you feel more comfortable than going to any other crowded place that you don't know who has it, who is asymptomatic, who has mild symptoms."
Some doctors said to make sure you have a trustworthy pediatrician, who can guide you on a phone call on whether or not you need to go to the emergency room, if it's not abundantly obvious.