BARNEGAT – Hospitals closed down a lot of their non-essential work during COVID-19. But now, as the numbers of pandemic patients are going down, they are opening back up to the general public. They are calling out to people to let them know that it’s safe to come in and get their health needs taken care of.
To illustrate this point, Deborah Heart and Lung is sharing the story of Susan Morris, a church secretary who lives in Barnegat. The 56-year-old had a sudden medical episode two years ago that landed her in the emergency room with spiking blood pressure.
In the two years that followed, she took care of her health with regular doctor visits, a change in diet, and blood pressure medicine. Everything was going well…until suddenly it wasn’t anymore.
“I had a burning pain that went straight through to my back,” she recalled. “I went back to the emergency room.”
Sue was transferred to Deborah Heart and Lung Center where a heart catheterization revealed a blockage. She needed a stent.
This time, again, everything went according to plan and she went back to her normal life. However, she started getting anxious about her follow-up appointment. For now, COVID-19 was all throughout the news and being at a hospital worried her.
“I wasn’t sure with the coronavirus pandemic whether or not I should go back to the hospital. I was worried about that, but I was also really worried about my heart. I knew I needed to keep on track with my health care,” she said.
What helped alleviate some of her worry were safety precautions at the hospital. Staff took her temperature and screened her. She wore a mask. The waiting room was rearranged to accommodate social distancing.
“During my entire time at the hospital I felt very safe and that the staff was taking every extra precaution to protect me,” she said. “It made me realize how important it is – even during these times – to keep up with my health care, and I trusted Deborah with my safety now, just like I trusted them with my heart care before.
“I tell people that if you’re willing to wear a bandana and go to the grocery store, you are even safer going to Deborah. They know exactly what to do,” she said.
“We are certainly pleased that Sue made her health a priority,” said Vincent Pompili, MD, Deborah’s Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine. “We at Deborah have been prioritizing our patients care throughout the pandemic, and we are working hard to ensure that our staff is able to provide the sophisticated level of care needed in the safest environment possible.”