‘It’s safe here’: Brussels hospital urges people not to delay urgent care
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‘It’s safe here’: Brussels hospital urges people not to delay urgent care

Credit: Belga

The Brussels’ Saint-Jean Breast Clinic is calling on patients to not postpone important appointments or check-ups, saying that the chances of contracting Covid-19 in the hospital are smaller than in the supermarket.

“I really insist: if people feel something in their chest, if they are anxious, do not hesitate. Call,” the head of the Brussels’ Saint-Jean Breast Clinic, Hilde Vernaeve, said on Friday, urging cancer patients in particular to consult a doctor.

The appeal comes following doctors’ experiences during the first wave in March-April, when many people reported they were scared to go to a hospital. “Patients should not say that Covid is much more dangerous when they are walking around with cancer. They must dare to come. It is safe here,” Vernaeve said.

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During the summer months, doctors reported that they saw patients with tumours they thought “still existed only in the history books” as the delayed care allowed them to become more advanced.

Scenarios such as those “must now be avoided at all costs during the second wave,” Vernaeve said, adding that, especially in a cancer ward, postponing a check-up can be disastrous.

Non-essential care can be postponed, she clarified, saying that is not what her call was about. “We are talking about the unforeseen consultations. The phone calls saying: ‘I felt something, when can I come in?’ Those calls hardly happened during the first wave,” she said.

There is absolutely no need to be afraid of being infected with the coronavirus while in the hospital as there are strict measures in place, Vernaeve said.

“There are controls on the wearing of face masks. Everyone has to disinfect their hands when entering the hospital. In the waiting room, the chairs are 1.5 metres apart. People are not allowed to enter the waiting room until ten minutes before their appointment,” she said. “You are more likely to be infected with Covid-19 in the supermarket than here in the hospital.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times