You have seen the bill boards haven’t you? You know…the ones which read “Need a Doctor and Don’t Know Who to Call”…or “Need a Medical Specialist, We Can Help?” These bill boards are put up by your local hospitals and, while trying to give the appearance of helping the consumers of medical care, are really just advertising for the hospital and its medical staff.

My question is just how good are the operators of the phone lines when you call in with an emergency problem? A recent study published in the medical journal, Stroke, provides an answer!

Twenty-two percent (22%) of healthline operators in a recent study offered incorrect advice when presented with a patient scenario of typical stroke symptoms. The incorrect answer was to recommend to the caller that they see their family doctor or primary care physician rather than call 911 for emergency help. Most informed doctors will tell you that it is crucial for stroke victims to get to an emergency room as soon as possible in order to reduce the risks of permanent brain damage or paralysis.

Keep the results of this study in mind the next time you call the medical helpline at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, Lewis-Gale Hospital, Memorial Hospital of Martinsville and Henry County, Danville Regional Medical Center, Stonewall Jackson Hospital, Carilion New River Valley Hospital, Montgomery Regional Hospital, Wellmont Bristol Regional Hospital, Carilion Giles Memorial Hospital, Alleghany Regional Hospital, Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital, and Tazewell Community Hospital.

About the author

Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at

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