Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The thing to do: Call 911

Just a couple of postings ago, this blog noted that research showed that there is still often a time issue for stroke patients - they are too often not getting to help in time.

Now, more news along those lines: Stroke patients don't call 911:
Nationwide, only about half of stroke patients arrived at the emergency department via ambulance and that figure hasn't changed over a 10-year period, Hooman Kamel, MD, of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, and colleagues found.
"Our findings suggest that national efforts to address barriers to ambulance use among patients with stroke need to be intensified or adjusted," they reported in a research letter in the March 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Thrombolytic therapy improves outcomes after ischemic stroke, but most patients don't present to the hospital in time, which is typically within 4.5 hours of symptom onset. That's despite numerous educational efforts to encourage people to call 911 at the earliest signs of stroke, especially because being transported via ambulance results in quicker arrival at the emergency department."
Thank God - and I mean thank God - someone had the presence of mind to summon an ambulance on the day my stroke occurred. But too often, that doesn't happen.

Now, does calling for ambulance guarantee an ideal outcome? No. Nothing can. But does failing to call 911 reduce your chances of a good outcome? Absolutely.

(Image from Alexander County (N.C.) Health Department)

No comments: