In an emergency, time to treatment can be critical, so it’s important to know when and where to get care. Being familiar with nearby emergency departments and safety standards related to COVID 19 can help make the decision easier.
“We are concerned about people delaying emergency care when they need it,” said James Bryant, NHRMC’s Administrator of Emergency Services. “We see the harmful effects of getting care late. Sometimes, it’s because of fear of COVID. Other times, it’s because people bypass an emergency care site and travel to a location farther away.”
Bryant says all NHRMC emergency departments take strict precautions to limit the risk of infections. Masks and eye wear are required for all staff. Other safety protocols include separating anyone who has or may have COVID-19 away from other patients by placing them in designated isolation rooms.
While Bryant understands the concerns patients have about COVID-19, he said delaying care is never a good idea. “For the foreseeable future COVID-19 is with us,” he said. Delaying care can mean patients ultimately get sicker, or conditions that could have been treated early snowball and cause more problems, and even become life-threatening.
Bryant said delays in treatment can especially be dangerous for patients who are experiencing medical emergencies such as heart attacks and strokes.
“Heart attacks and strokes are time sensitive,” he said. “Our goal is always to stop the damage caused by a heart attack or stroke. Delays can lead to irreparable damage leading to disability or even death. Symptoms like abdominal pain, chest pain and shortness of breath are best treated in an emergency department with full access to imaging and laboratory testing.”
Area residents should also know their options for emergency care. NHRMC’s Orthopedic Hospital on Wrightsville Avenue cares for all types of emergencies, not just orthopedic It is a full service emergency department that offers 24/7 access, acute care, and immediate access to full imaging (x-ray and CT), laboratory, respiratory care and emergency medicine trained providers and staff. Waits for less emergent cases are often shorter than those at NHRMC’s main campus emergency department, which is also the region’s trauma center.
Primary care and express care services are ideal when emergency care isn’t needed. “We always encourage people to have a primary care provider, that one physician who oversees your care is so important,” Bryant said. “Then patients can see specialists as necessary. When you have a minor complaint, whether you think you have strep throat, or a sprained ankle from a minor fall or a rash, it’s great to go to our NHRMC ExpressCare. Some urgent care centers like ours offer radiology and limited lab services. For people who have anything like chest pain, abdominal pain, or who have fallen from more than a couple of feet, or who have respiratory illness or a complex medical history it’s probably best for them to be seen in an Emergency Department for care because they will need some diagnostic capabilities that may not be available at all urgent care centers.”
List of NHRMC Options
NHRMC Emergency Department Locations:
New Hanover Regional Medical Center
2131 S. 17th Street, Wilmington
NHRMC Orthopedic Hospital
5301 Wrightsville Avenue, Wilmington
NHRMC Emergency Department – North
151 Scotts Hill Medical Drive, Wilmington
Pender Memorial Hospital
507 E. Fremont Street, Burgaw
Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center
240 Hospital Drive, Bolivia
NHRMC ExpressCare Locations:
510 Carolina Bay Drive, Suite 110, Wilmington
NHRMC ExpressCare - Rocky Point
7910 US Hwy 117 S., Rocky Point
NHRMC ExpressCare – Brunswick Forest
1333 S. Dickinson Drive, Suite 140 B, Leland