Paramedics now have additional technology that can save valuable time on the way to the hospital. The only problem is you have to use an ambulance in order to take advantage of it.
When it comes to heart attack or stroke, 10 minutes can mean the difference between life and death. Driving yourself to the hospital can be a tragic mistake.
"Paramedics can get to you quickly, they can perform these assessments, they can start lifesaving treatment before you ever get to the emergency department. The person that tries to drive themselves, they're excited. If they're having a heart attack it just worsens the problem."
Time is of the essence when it comes to heart attack and stroke patients. That's why calling the ambulance is important, they use a 12 led EKG to determine the best course of treatment before you even get to the ER.
The 12 led EKG is a fairly new technique for local paramedics. Emergency Medical Services can start treatment right away using a 12 led EKG, which shows them 12 different views of the heart.
The paramedics can then pinpoint any problems, start IV medicines and let the hospital know what's going on before they even get there.
"We can have staff ready to treat the patient, doctors, nurses, we can also be able to notify the cath lab if this is a patient that's having a heart attack at this time and needs to go directly to the cath lab, we'll do a rapid assessment in the ER and the cath lab can be in here waiting for them and take them directly to the cath lab which can save lives."
Clearly technology and training has come a long way, but it's only beneficial if you call an ambulance in an emergency.
In Bay County an ambulance can respond to any place in the county in seven minutes. With most stroke victims, doctors have about a three hour window for treatment, from the onset of symptoms. Treatment time is even less for heart attack victims.