Calling 911

REACT investigators reported, based on a random-digit-dial survey conducted in 20 US communities at baseline, that nearly 90% of respondents said they would use EMS during a witnessed cardiac event. However, when they conducted a follow-up survey of chest pain patients presenting to participating emergency department's and either released or admitted to the hospital with a confirmed coronary event, the average proportion of patients who used EMS was 23% with significant geographic differences (range 10-48%). Most victims were driven by someone else (60.4%) or drove themselves to the hospital (15.6%). These findings indicate that, in general, community members recognize the benefit of EMS transport when acting as a bystander to a public cardiac event, but individuals personally experiencing symptoms of an acute MI often choose not to use EMS services. This implies there is a huge discrepancy between what people say they will do and what they actually do in the face of a cardiac event (55).

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