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Do not postpone necessary care, Brussels hospital says

UZ Brussel believes that the fear of catching the coronavirus plays an important role in these necessary delays in care. Credit: Belga

Postponing necessary treatment for fear of the new coronavirus (Covid-19) could prove catastrophic, the University Hospital of Brussels, said Friday.

GPs and patients undergoing treatment for certain pathologies must be alert to the warning signs in order to intervene in time, the hospital said. People suffering from cardiovascular disease, in particular, should not ignore certain signs, such as chest pains, tingling in the limbs or, sudden loss of speech.

“A patient had to have a leg amputated due to insufficient oxygen supply for too long, because of a narrowing of the artery. Another was paralysed for life due to a stroke, while a third died of an aneurysm during transport to the operating room,” said Erik Debing, the head of the vascular surgery department, to the Belga press agency.

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“If this last patient had come to the hospital as soon as he first experienced complaints, three days earlier, he could normally have left the hospital after surgery,” Debing said.

UZ Brussel believes that the fear of catching the coronavirus plays an important role in these unnecessary delays in care. “The number of non-coronavirus deaths could, however, exceed the number of deaths due to the virus if patients postpone their care for too long,” the hospital said.

Earlier on Friday, paediatrics across the country reassured parents that they should not put off taking their children to the doctor. “Even if your child is only showing light symptoms, take it seriously and go to the doctor,” paediatricians said. “Going half a day earlier could be crucial in some cases.”

In particular, children with chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes should not delay. “We are able to guarantee a good follow-up for everyone, for example via digital platforms. Play safe and contact a doctor if there’s a medical problem.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times