The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that each and every year, 735,000 Americans experience heart attacks. And, when it comes to a heart attack, each and every single minute matters. As each minute passes, the likelihood of permanent heart damage increases which can eventually lead to death or heart failure.
Many times, people are unaware that the symptoms they are suffering from – such as chest pain, excessive sweating, nausea, tightness of the chest, discomfort and more – are common symptoms of heart attacks. When experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is important to go to a hospital and see a medical professional who can properly evaluate you and make sure that you are healthy.
However, if you or a loved one is having a heart attack, it does not make sense to have a friend or family member drive you, even if you happen to live 15 minutes away from a hospital. The reasons why? A person suffering a heart attack needs to be returned to a state of normal blood flow. When normal blood flow is restored, their chance of survival increases. The person driving you to the hospital cannot and certainly should not, simultaneously drive AND provide you with medical care, especially if the situation becomes even more urgent and the patient struggling through a heart attack suddenly requires CPR.
As tempting as it may be to rush someone to the hospital when an emergency happens, the truth is that no matter what, each and every time, you should dial 911 right away. People who drive ambulances are known as emergency medical crews, and they can navigate someone to a hospital more efficiently and safely than another driver. Most importantly, an emergency medical crew or team arriving on scene can begin to administer medical treatment right away. Paramedics sometimes have electrocardiograms in their vehicles, and are able to take the data and electronically transmit it to the hospital the patient will be admitted to. This notifies the hospital that a patient in need is en route to its facility and gives the patient immediate access to a cardiac catheterization lab in which heart attack patients are monitored by medical personnel.
If a patient is transported to a hospital in the vehicle of a friend or loved one they must simply walk in as a brand new emergency patient when they arrive. Newly-arrived patients who have not been transported in an ambulance and have not had medical data sent electronically to the hospital beforehand are required to go through triage. This is when hospital medical staff fully evaluates the patients’ medical condition before they are able to begin diagnostic testing. As stated at the beginning of this article: when it comes to heart attacks each and every single second matters, which means going through triage when a patient arrives at the hospital could be wasting valuable, life-saving time.
It is normal to want to do everything we can for those that we care about and love, especially when they are sick or injured. However, the best thing you can do for someone who appears to be suffering from a heart attack or any of the above listed symptoms is simple: call 911 and allow for the emergency medical personnel to assist you or your loved one. They will get the diagnostic data sent to the hospital en route, and will transport you there in the safest, most efficient manner possible.
If you or someone you know has been injured by a health care provider’s negligence, our Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys at Galfand Berger, LLP can help. With offices located in Philadelphia, Reading and Bethlehem, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.