Local doctor shares importance of finding medical care near you when traveling this holiday season


FILE – In this Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, file photo, ornaments hang on a Christmas tree on display in New York. Office holiday parties are tricky in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Dancing, drinking and fancy dinners are out. Many companies are foregoing parties altogether, deciding instead to send staff gift baskets, extra time off or donations to charities that employees choose. (AP Photo/Swayne B. Hall, File)

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — The holidays are full of fun activities, like baking cookies and decorating the house, but sometimes these things can end in injury or illness.

Dr. Eduardo Gonzalez is an emergency room doctor at Northwest Florida Community Hospital. He said they treat just about everything during the holiday season.

“They come for nausea vomiting, shortness of breath, cough, flu and cold symptoms, covid symptoms,” Dr. Gonzalez said.

On top of the more common Christmas illness, Dr. Gonzalez said they’re also treating some unusual injuries.

“You know lacerations – people preparing their Christmas meals cut their fingers we’ve had people drop frozen turkeys on their feet,” Dr. Gonzalez said.

But, they also see patients suffering from serious medical emergencies.

“And then you have the more serious heart attacks, abdominal pain and little bit of everything we do,” said Dr. Gonzalez.

Dr. Gonzalez said the emergency room is typically a little busier during the holiday season. If you’re traveling, he said it’s important to research the medical resources available to you wherever you’re going.

“We are a rural community hospital here but we are capable of doing a lot of things you know we are able to stabilize a patient if they are too sick and we can get them to a larger hospital but anybody traveling to this area is more than welcome to be see at this facility,” Dr. Gonzalez said. “If you have a chronic medical condition then it’s definitely very important to know where you’re going and what kind of resources are going to be available to you.”

Northwest Florida Community Hospital is a full service emergency room. Dr. Gonzalez said they are capable of handling all emergencies, stabilizing a patient and even getting them to a higher level of care when necessary.

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