38-Year-Old Dies of Heart Attack After Refusing to Go to the Hospital Amid Pandemic

Lizzy Buczak
June 30, 2020 - 1:44 pm

On a Sunday morning in mid-April, Dominick Battel woke up with a tightness in his chest.

He and his wife, Cortney, chalked it up to nothing serious as he regularly struggles with heartburn, and he spent the afternoon playing with his kids and doing some chores around the house.

But by the evening, his pain had intensified.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I think I’m having a heart attack,” Cortney recalled Dominick saying as he called her downstairs, per Today.

Cortney knew something wasn’t right and called 911, but despite his pain, Dominick wasn’t convinced he should go to the emergency room in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Time and time again, the couple was told that they shouldn't go to the hospital during the outbreak unless it was a huge emergency. “You’re not supposed to go unless you absolutely can’t breathe," Cortney said.

"Maybe he just didn’t think whatever he was experiencing warranted that much of an emergency visit because we were told don’t go unless you’re about to die, these beds are reserved for COVID. That was the message that stuck with us," she added.

Even when the paramedics arrived, Dominick was hesitant about going to the hospital, and by the time he was convinced, it was too late.

“He stood up to go with them. We said, 'I love you.' We kissed. And he went down,” she recalled.

Dominick died of a heart attack at the age of 38.

The Battels aren’t the only ones who have been skeptical about seeking treatment in a hospital amid the pandemic.

According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, visits to the emergency room declined drastically since mid-March.

“People are terrified of the emergency setting," said Dr. Reed Caldwell, an ER doctor at NYU Langone Health, told the publication noting a 50% decline in visits.

Since COVID, the perception is that hospitals are no longer safe but rather, a dangerous place where you can get sick.

In response, the American Heart Association launched a national campaign called "Don't Die of Doubt,” which urges those who need medical attention to seek treatment at a hospital.

Doctors stressed the importance of seeking help especially when it comes to silent killers like heart attacks and strokes where “every minute counts.”

Cortney shared her story to save others from the same fate. “Our story wasn’t over. This isn’t how it was supposed to be,” she said mourning the loss.

Her advice: “Go to the ER, if you’re not sure. Do not let COVID get in the way.”

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