Every second counts – and that includes treatment en route to the A&E. In an emergency, calling 995 might be the best game plan.
In a medical crisis it’s vital to get help ASAP. If that means a trip to the emergency room, how do you know if it’s better to drive or to call an ambulance? In some cases the decision could be the difference between life and death. Early treatment limits the damage to the heart muscle.
CALL 9-9-5 IMMEDIATELY
If you’re too sick or hurt or too distraught about a sick loved one to drive safely, pick up the phone and dial 9-9-5. An ambulance will be the safest way to get to the emergency room without crashing en route. Note that if you’re the sick person and you’re too ill to speak, call 9-9-5 anyway. The operators can identify your location and will send help.
Calling the ambulance will be the best course of action to take when someone shows the following signs: Pressure, pain or an aching sensation in the chest that spreads to the arms, back, neck or jaw; shortness of breath; cold sweat; nausea; abdominal pain and/or light-headedness.
RECEIVE TREATMENT EN ROUTE TO THE HOSPITAL
There’s another critical reason for calling the ambulance. If you had opted to take the patient in a car or taxi, he would not receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation in the event of a heart attack. According to a research, one in every 300 patients with chest pain suffers cardiac arrest in the ambulance en route.
When faced with such situations, paramedics in an ambulance can also give certain medications to prevent blood-clot forming or to dilate the heart vessels in order to allow blood to flow to the heart muscle. Moreover, the paramedics can also transmit their assessment of the patient’s condition and ECG to the hospital prior to the patient’s arrival.
TIMELINESS SAVES LIVES
A research in South Korea has shown that an hour’s delay in hospital treatment can lead to an increase in death rate by 55 per cent. Patients in Japan who presented themselves at the hospital within three hours of the onset of heart attack symptoms benefited from a shorter treatment time.
While no data is not available for Singapore, a treatment time of less than 60 minutes to unblock the heart vessel could lead to an approximately 12 per cent reduced risk of death relative to patients who had a treatment time of more than 60 minutes. Those patients who arrive via an ambulance service were three times more likely to be treated within the 60-minute threshold.