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Why Call 911?

Calling 911 Starts Treatment Earlier

Because every minute counts when having a heart attack, it seems that getting to an Emergency Department as quickly as possible would be everyone's first choice. Unfortunately, more than 50 percent of all patients experiencing chest pain walk into the ED rather than calling 911. The reasons for this are numerous, ranging from the instinct to just jumping in the car and driving to the nearest hospital, to the misunderstanding that the emergency squad is just a transport vehicle. The fact remains that every minute counts, and calling 911 starts treatment earlier.

  • 911 dispatchers are often trained to not only locate you quickly but also assist you in early treatment options.
  • In many areas of the country, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) can diagnosis a heart attack by using an electrocardiogram (ECG) and also initiate early treatment.
  • Arriving by ambulance to the ED helps to ensure that you will not wait to be seen by a physician. Many patients who experience chest pain drive themselves, only to find that they may wait in the ED lobby until they can see the doctor. Do not let this happen to you.
  • EMS is able to radio ahead to the ED that you are on your way. This enables the ED staff to be ready for you when you arrive through their doors.
If you are experiencing chest pain, don't wait—call 911. It just might save your life and/or reduce further damage.