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Life Saving Advice: What to Do if a Loved One Suffers a Heart Attack

February 2, 2017 | By Nicole Simmons
Published in: Heart

Calling an ambulance instead of driving yourself to a hospital when a loved one suffers a heart attack may save their life.

When someone you love is suffering from a heart attack, every minute matters when seeking medical care. How you react when the unthinkable happens can be the difference between life and death. To help, we’ve put together some incredibly important information about how to react to a heart attack.

If somebody you’re with is suffering from a heart attack you should immediately call 9-1-1, request an ambulance, and have the person chew and swallow a Tylenol while waiting for an EMT to arrive. It is strongly advised during a heart attack that you should not drive them to the hospital yourself, even if you think you can get there faster. There are a few reasons for this:

Your Loved One's Care Begins with a Call

EMTs can provide life saving treatment en route to the hospital.Getting your immediate medical attention for a heart attack victim is an essential factor in ensuring survival. When you reach out for help by dialing 9-1-1, you're accessing valuable advice from a trained professional. 9-1-1 operators are trained to give instructions and make contact with the right care providers in your area. You'll get valuable life-saving instructions as well as connect with appropriate services at the scene of the medical emergency. Your first instinct may be to drive your loved one to the hospital yourself when your loved one is experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, but the safest choice is to call 9-1-1.

Your Loved One Needs Immediate Access to Skilled Medical Care

Rapid medical treatment can begin when first responders arrive on the scene. Your care will be provided by trained medical personnel who can use lifesaving techniques if needed. Your loved one will be assessed, and the emergency department at the hospital will be advised of their condition. While the patient is en route, medical staff will be able to prepare for their arrival, saving precious time. If you try to drive, you're not going to be able to give hospital staff a "heads up". As a result, the necessary medical equipment, specialized treatment rooms, and specialists won't be ready and waiting to provide the critical care your loved one needs.

Your Loved One's Condition Could Worsen During the Drive

EMTs can prepare the hospital in advance for your arrival.According to the American Heart Association, 50 percent of people who decline transport via ambulance die when heart attack symptoms are present. National and local average wait times from arrival to treatment are reduced when patients are transported by ambulance. Also important, your loved one will have access to important medications and treatments that you won't be able to provide while you're driving. There's no way you can give CPR or administer medications while driving without posing a serious risk of an accident to yourself, the victim, and others.

Distance or Traffic Conditions Could Create Disastrous Delays

Getting from your location to the hospital can be difficult under the best circumstances. If you're trying to navigate through crowded traffic conditions, roadwork, or even normal levels of traffic, you might experience delays. These delays could prevent your loved one from getting the care they need as quickly as possible. The results can be disastrous, especially if a delay in treatment results in loss of life. Accidents are also a risk when you're trying to travel quickly. Your attention could be diverted and impair your decision-making skills.

How to Call an Ambulance

Calling for an ambulance is simple. Dial 9-1-1 and wait for your call to be answered. Be sure to remain calm and speak slowly and clearly. Carefully listen and respond to the questions the dispatcher asks. You will probably be asked for the following information:

  • Your name
  • The victim's name
  • The address you're calling from
  • The nature of the problem

Make sure you DON'T HANG UP until the dispatcher tells you it's okay. The dispatcher could try to provide you with additional instructions or require additional information.

A heart attack is a serious medical condition, and it can be scary for the victim and caregivers. The most important thing to remember is to stay calm while you're waiting for help to arrive. You'll be able to provide better care and follow necessary instructions if you keep your cool. Preparing for an emergency ahead of time can also help you get through an event like this without losing it. Keeping important numbers and a list of medications handy will also help if you become flustered when the pressure is on.

If you believe a loved one is suffering from a heart attack, call 9-1-1 immediately. Every minute matters.