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Don’t Delay Emergency Care

ThedaCare Patient Wants Others to Seek Care when Necessary

APPLETON, Wis. – When Peggy Diemer and her husband moved to the Fox Valley area late last year, they had no idea the roller coaster of change they would soon experience.

“It’s been a long few months,” Diemer said. “I think everyone might be feeling that way.”

The family’s immediate health issues escalated in February 2020. Both Peggy and her husband were admitted to the hospital for acute respiratory infections. Ten days after she was released from the hospital, Peggy fell ill again, this time with different issues. Through a call to ThedaCare, it was recommended that she be seen in one of the COVID-19 Respiratory Care Clinics where she tested negative for the virus. Peggy continued to recover and began to feel better. Then in April, things took a turn when she began experiencing new symptoms.

“It was a Wednesday, and my heart was beating so fast,” she said. “Something just didn’t seem right. I thought I was having a heart attack.”

Like many others, Diemer said she was afraid to go to the emergency department over fears of contracting COVID-19.

“Multiple reports across the nation have cited a significant reduction in admissions for events like heart attacks and strokes during the pandemic,” said Dr. Michael Hooker, ThedaCare Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Acute Care. “We know the COVID-19 virus can be unsettling. When early symptoms of other health conditions are ignored, they can worsen quickly and lead to lasting damage that may have been lessened by immediate treatment. Delaying emergency care is not an option, and all members of the community should know they can turn to our team for safe emergency care.”

Diemer explained how she struggled with her decision.

“I remember being in the parking lot of the Emergency Department at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton,” she recalled. “I was talking with an on-call physician. I told him I was afraid to go in. He told me that hospitals like ThedaCare are taking so many safety precautions and they would never compromise the health and safety of patients.”

Diemer went in.

“From the screener at the door, to the patient service representative at the front desk, the nurses and lab technicians, everyone was amazing,” she said. “I felt like every person wanted to put me at ease.”

Diemer said she was admitted and taken to an isolated room to wait for testing. Team members explained what they were doing to ensure patient and staff safety.

“Every person made me feel safe,” she said. “I felt like a priority. I knew they had done everything they could to make it safe for me and others. And they didn’t just tell me what they did, they showed me those actions.”

When patients arrive at the emergency department, screeners will greet them at the door. Patients will be asked for a temperature check and to wear a mask – for their safety and the safety of others. ThedaCare team members have gone to great lengths to make our emergency department safe so we can provide lifesaving care. Those steps include:

  • Our physicians, nurses, caregivers, support staff and infectious disease experts continue to stay informed with the latest information and treatment protocols to make sure we are ready, prepared and accessible at anytime, anywhere our community needs us.
  • Patients are screened prior to entering the ED so they are directed to the right care areas quickly and isolated if presenting respiratory symptoms.
  • We are following or exceeding the CDC’s protocols and guidelines for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as well as the Wisconsin Department of Health.
  • We are limiting visitors to minimize the risk of exposure.

“ThedaCare has provided care in our communities for more than 110 years and that continues during our response to COVID-19,” said Dr. Hooker. “Our teams are ready to provide lifesaving interventions during emergency situations. We do not want people to delay care over fears of the virus.”

Various tests were conducted while Diemer was in the emergency department. Thankfully, she did not have a heart attack. She praised the coordinated care she received.

In these uncertain times, Diemer wants others to know that if you are experiencing an emergency situation, do not hesitate to call 911 or go to the emergency department.

“Many people might be afraid to go to the hospital right now because of COVID-19,” she said. “If you need care, go. If you are afraid, tell them and they will help you understand the safety measures in place. Receiving the care you need will put your mind at ease.”

About ThedaCare

For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to improving the health of the communities it serves in Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization delivers care to a community of more than 600,000 residents in 18 counties and employs more than 7,000 health care professionals. ThedaCare has 180 locations including seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, New London, Shawano, Waupaca and Wild Rose. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a not-for-profit health care organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.

For more information, visit www.thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.

Media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public and Media Relations Consultant at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.