When Calling 911 Improves Your Chances of Living
Twenty minutes could mean the difference between life and death.
This past week, Bryn Mawr Hospital and Narberth Ambulance Company drilled on transporting a dummy heart attack patient to the hospital to see how long it took to get him to Bryn Mawr's cath lab.
The hospital will soon change its practice of patients stopping in the Emergency Room to be stabilized because the tools to do that are available in ambulances, and the processes like taking blood can be done in the cath lab, where treatments to open arteries occurs.
In this business, as they say, time is muscle.
As the hospital tries to shorten its "door-to-device" time, it asks the community to help them do that by calling 911 if someone thinks they are having a heart attack.
"Do not drive yourself in," said Kim Mayhew, the Chest Pain Center coordinator at Bryn Mawr Hospital. When EMS services are used, the time from when a patient leaves his or her door and gets into the cath lab is 45 minutes on average, she said; if you drive yourself it's 65 minutes.
That's a difference of 20 minutes of the heart muscle dying.
Taking an ambulance also helps the hospital to prepare for the incoming patient. As soon as they receive the call, they start their processes. It's especially important on the hours when the cath lab is closed—it takes 15 minutes for the on-call employees to get there.