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Five bad reasons not to call 911

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Dialing 911 isn’t a call most people want to make, but it can mean the difference between life and death in an emergency. Quick treatment can help limit damage being done and increase the chance of a full recovery. Many times, people are hesitant to make the call. Lack of education about symptoms can act as a barrier to calling and getting the quick care a patient needs. Other reasons people may not want to call 911 include:

  • Denial – don’t want to admit you’re not feeling well
  • Embarrassment - the neighbors would see the ambulance pull up
  • Cost – it’d be too expensive
  • Slow – thinking you can get there faster if you drive
  • Fear – thinking you’re wrong or overreacting

But, calling 911 instead of driving yourself or a loved one to a nearby emergency department can be the difference between life and death.

In an emergency situation, quick treatment is of utmost importance.  Admitting that you need help can be difficult, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and it’s better to ask for help than risk your health. If you call 911, the operator can call for the help you need and walk you or a loved one through CPR if it’s necessary. When you call EMS (emergency medical services), you are not obligated to go to the hospital and they will not make you go if it’s not needed. When they arrive, they will assess the situation and either treat you on the scene or transport you to the hospital. If you do need to go to the hospital, it’s better for them to drive you since a member of their team can assess and treat you along the way. Ambulances also have sirens, and special traffic laws that help them get you to the hospital faster. If you’re experiencing an emergency, it can be unsafe to try and operate a vehicle.

With a specific system in place among the local first responders and Cone Health Emergency Medical Staff, our community’s exceptional emergency medical team is prepared to coach and administer effective CPR, and communicate with the hospital teams to make sure everything is in place and they are ready to treat you once you arrive. Fortunately, Cone Health has an exceptional network of urgent care facilities, emergency departments, and a trauma care center dedicated to providing immediate treatment for individuals in the community experiencing unexpected illness, injury and other concerning health conditions.

Spokesperson Background:

Dr. Tiffany Randolph is a non-invasive cardiologist at Cone Health Medical Group HeartCare. Dr. Randolph received a Bachelor of Science in biology from Wake Forest University and she completed medical school at Harvard Medical School. She completed her residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in general cardiology at Duke University Hospital and Medical Center.