OSF argues that calling 911 instead of driving yourself, or a loved one, to a nearby emergency department can be the difference between life and death. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Tobyotter)
By Todd Wineburner
PONTIAC - Another major Central Illinois healthcare provider is joining an effort to spread a simple message: Don’t try to drive yourself to the hospital, call 911 for an ambulance.
Steve Baron, the Emergency Response Coordinator at OSF St. James-John W. Albrecht medical center in Pontiac, said Friday that people often let fear push them into a poor decision. Baron explained when people are faced with a crisis such as a heart attack or stroke, a sense of denial prompts many to try to drive to the hospital instead of calling 911 for an ambulance.
"Some people don't really want to face the fact that they potentially are having a heart attack or stroke. Nor do they want to be embarrassed by calling an ambulance (and) making all the commotion," said Baron.
But Baron said personal safety and the safety of others should be the key consideration instead. He adds that when a 911 center is called, they can provide information that might save a patient’s life.
OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in the Twin Cities has been sharing the same message, along with first responders. They argue precious time is wasted when hospitals could be preparing for a patient's arrival in an ambulance.
Todd Wineburner can be reached at email@example.com.