Medical providers: Don’t risk driving with chest pain

9:55 am | March 28, 2013

“Call 911! I think I’m having a heart attack.”

Health care professionals with Sycamore Shoals Hospital and the Carter County Rescue Squad want more patients to call for emergency medical care when they fear they are having a heart attack.

They’re reaching out to educate the public on the importance of using emergency transport as the Chest Pain Center continues to take shape at the hospital.

“One of the big key focuses is that the community uses 911,” said Morgan May, coordinator of the Chest Pain Center. “That is one of the most important things someone can do when they are having chest pains instead of driving themselves. It is not uncommon to see people drive themselves in instead of calling 911. The American Heart Association is trying to get the word out to call 911 instead of driving yourself to the emergency room.”

SSH Emergency Department nurse manager Regina Barkley said the rescue squad can provide services en route that a patient cannot get if they are driving themselves or having a family member bring them into the emergency room.

“Any type of chest pain, you can’t determine what it is,” Barkley said. “Even if you are alert at the time, things can always change. People can go unresponsive. The EMS provides services en route and if the patient’s condition worsens, they have the ability on the truck to give that patient what they need.”

While there may be a range of reasons why a patient would choose not to call the rescue squad when having chest pain, one of the main factors is the cost associated with using that service.

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