In a study by Dr. Brett Jarrell from Cabell Huntington Hospital in West Virginia, he found that about 1 in 4 potential stroke patients who called a hospital operator were told to call their primary physician rather than 911. This is especially alarming considering the well-established link between fast treatment of strokes and improved outcomes.
Dr. Jarrell and his team called 46 healthlines in the US and presented the operator with the following stroke scenario: a 65 year old man experiencing weakness in the left arm and leg and having trouble speaking, both of which are common stroke symptoms. The operator was then asked to choose from four options: wait for the symptoms to go away, call their primary care doctor, go to a local urgent care center, or call 911 for an ambulance.
In 22 percent of the calls, the operator told the caller to contact their primary care doctor rather than to seek emergency treatment. In 78 percent of the calls, the operator did recommend emergency treatment. This is outrageously bad medical advice!
Even more alarming is the fact that 24 percent of operators could not name even one stroke symptom or sign!
See the full MSNBC article here.
See more information about strokes and their symptoms at these sites:
National Stroke Association
American Heart Assocation Stroke Warning Signs
American Stroke Association
WebMD Stroke Center