Fewer lights/sirens when a woman heart patient is in the ambulance

13 Jan

by Carolyn Thomas   @HeartSisters    January 13, 2019

emsI sometimes think that, during the almost 10 years I’ve been writing about women’s heart disease research, diagnostics and treatment, I’ve heard it all when it comes to women being under-diagnosed and under-treated (yes, sometimes under-treated even when appropriately diagnosed!)  I thought I was unshockable by now. But a study published last month in the journal, Women’s Health Issues (WHI) was indeed a shocker.    .

Researchers compared the pre-hospital care of both male and female heart patients over the age of 40 who had been transported to hospital after calling 911 for help.

It wasn’t only the WHI study’s findings that women being transported to hospital were less likely than men to receive recommended treatments (including even the minimal basics such as aspirin or cardiac monitoring) that shocked me. That appalling reality has been reported by cardiac researchers so many times that’s it’s at risk of being considered tired old news by now (for example, Pope et al., 2000; Blomkalns et al., 2005; Jneid et al., 2008; Dey et al., 2009; Meizel et al., 2010; Balady et al., 2011; Poon et al., 2012; Koopman et al., 2013, etc. etc. etc.)    See also: The Sad Reality of Women’s Heart Disease Hits Home

Researchers continue to describe this under-treatment as what’s known as the cardiology gender gap, often blamed on the implicit bias against women among many medical professionals. The same professionals may blame women themselves, perhaps because of our tendency to delay seeking emergency care, or because of the way we communicate our cardiac symptoms to physicians.

It’s also why we are often forced to conclude, in the immortal words of Laura Haywood-Cory (who survived her own heart attack at age 40):

“Sucks to be female. Better luck next life!”

But the part of this study that seemed to cause the most excitement was this conclusion, as the WHI researchers wrote:

When transporting women from the scene to the hospital, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel were significantly less likely to use lights and sirens compared with men being transported.” 

This isn’t even the first study to arrive at the same distressing conclusion; at least two other studies conducted in 2013 in Norway and in Australia also found that women diagnosed at the hospital with acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) were less likely to have been transported there by ambulances with red lights and loud sirens compared with male heart attack patients (Melberg et al; Coventry et al). 

Findings like these seem particularly shocking because of our assumption that the decision to employ lights and sirens indicates urgency in getting that patient to the hospital as fast as possible. 

So when an ambulance driver decides to turn on the lights and sirens if the patient lying in the back is a male, but not so much if she’s a female experiencing the same symptoms, it does indeed send a disturbing message.

As longtime former paramedic-turned EMS attorney Douglas Wolfberg says, lights and sirens do work:

  • – to clear traffic and warn drivers, pedestrians and others that an ambulance is approaching in emergency mode
  • by showing the public that we are treating their emergency calls seriously
  • to show our public officials that we are meeting their response time expectations and being accountable

But even though lights and sirens “work” for those purposes, Wolfberg says that there’s a larger question here, and that is all about patient benefit.

So here’s another shocker (putting the serious issue of cardiac gender bias aside for a moment): consider that the use of flashing red lights and loud sirens has become a controversial issue in the field of Emergency Medical Services.

In fact, there seems to be a movement among emergency responders to actually reduce the overall use of lights and sirens. Emergency physician, professor of emergency medicine and paramedic Dr. Douglas Kupas listed some of the arguments for this change in his U.S. Office of Emergency Medical Services report:

  • – studies suggest that EMS response times generally make much less of a difference than the public believes
  • – response times are driven by public perception of quality service
  • – some patients decide to drive themselves to the ER because of concern or embarrassment associated with an ambulance “running hot” down their street.   See also: Too Embarrassed to Call 911 During a Heart Attack?
  • – siren noise can cause distress to some patients being transported.
  • – EMS personnel are at risk of hearing impairment/loss from high decibel siren noise (a risk that can be mitigated by limiting siren response or using hearing protection)
  • – reducing use of red lights and ambulance sirens reduces the risks of a crash and collision-related liability (for example, when Salt Lake City emergency medical dispatch prioritized medical calls in 1983, the lights and siren response decreased by 50%, and there was a 78% reduction in emergency vehicle collisions in the same year).
  • – fewer than 5% of 911 calls are true time-sensitive emergencies, so many EMS agencies should be able to safely reduce their lights and sirens use during response to less than 50% of their 911 calls

By now, you might be wondering which 911 responses would warrant flashing red lights and loud sirens?

As outlined in the report by Dr. Kupas, these five categories are the true time-sensitive emergencies (e.g. a one- to five-minute response required):

  • 1. cardiac or respiratory arrest
  • 2. airway problems
  • 3. unconsciousness
  • 4. severe trauma
  • 5. true obstetrical emergencies

Since cardiac arrest is ranked Number One on this priority list, let’s go back to last month’s findings published in Women’s Health Issues. In four years of data from the National Emergency Medical Services Information System, activations of more than 280,000 patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest were analyzed. Over 108,000 were women.

According to the priority list from Dr. Kupas, every one of those cardiac arrest cases should have been considered a true time-sensitive emergency requiring red lights flashing and loud sirens screaming all the way to the hospital – for both men AND women.

1. Lewis, Jannet F. et al. “Gender Differences in the Quality of EMS Care Nationwide for Chest Pain and Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest.” Women’s Health Issues, December 10, 2018.

Q: Were you transported by ambulance to the ER with or without lights and sirens?

 

NOTE FROM CAROLYN: I wrote much more about differences between how men and women are researched, diagnosed and treated in my book, “A Woman’s Guide to Living with Heart Disease” . You can ask for it at your local bookshop, or order it online (paperback, hardcover or e-book) at Amazon, or order it directly from Johns Hopkins University Press (and use the code HTWN to save 20% off the list price when you order).

See also:

30 Responses to “Fewer lights/sirens when a woman heart patient is in the ambulance”

  1. Dawn February 2, 2019 at 3:47 pm #

    Hello, maybe you can make sense. I’ve only started down the heart road two weeks ago. Not even sure it is my heart. Although they have me going to a heart specialist.

    In October I started having pain in the middle of my chest, it radiates to my shoulders, down both arms and my hands get numb. I instantly fall forward onto my bed until it goes away. I become nauseous, light headed and instantly tired. My heart specialist is getting a stress test started for me. This has been happening once a month. The last one happened Tuesday and right before I became extremely agitated for no reason. It gets worse each time. I don’t feel he’s taking me seriously. Any thoughts???
    Thank you
    Dawn in Georgia, 56 years old.

    Like

  2. Wendy Hanawalt January 17, 2019 at 10:51 am #

    I had to have an ambulance called a couple of years ago. Even though they had been apprised of my cardiac history, the paramedics “diagnosed” my problems (unable to breathe or walk) as a panic attack, as in “probably just a panic attack.” An hour or so later, the ER doctor diagnosed me as bleeding internally, and I was given a transfusion of 3 units of blood.

    Panic attack, my butt.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas January 17, 2019 at 2:49 pm #

      Hi Wendy – I didn’t know that blood transfusions (3 units!) can cure a panic attack… Hope you never have a scary experience like that one every again!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Andrea Rouda January 16, 2019 at 3:49 am #

    I asked that they not turn in the siren and was told that they would keep it off unless they got stuck in traffic. Eventually they turned on the siren. I think this is a RIDICULOUS speculation

    Like

    • Carolyn Thomas January 16, 2019 at 8:37 am #

      Hello Andrea – I’m not sure what you’re calling a “RIDICULOUS speculation” here. If you’re referring to the research conclusions, they are based on four years of data on over 2 million documented Emergency Medical Services responses (e.g. “…when women and men with heart attack symptoms called 911, women were less likely to receive aspirin, be resuscitated, or be transported to the hospital in ambulances using lights and sirens.”)

      Don’t take my word for it, please read the study.

      That’s called data, not speculation.

      Like

  4. Virginia Bolger, RN January 14, 2019 at 9:17 am #

    This happened to me. Called for a ambulance d/t Cardiac symptoms. Where I live the fire companies respond to 911. I am an RN and there were NO lights or sound. NO meds offered. The fireman acted bored and the driver was slow.

    I overheard him telling the triage nurse that there was nothing wrong with me. I was in a great deal of pain, she took vitals, sent me to waiting room. I waited 3 1/2 hours before being seen! I have severe cardiac disease (surgery Mayo Clinic 8/16) and this info was ignored and my son who does advanced life support in PA was horrified.

    Next time I’ll have a nurse neighbor take me. Outcome – 2 of my 4 bypasses collapsed and could not be fixed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas January 14, 2019 at 9:30 am #

      Oh, Virginia. Where to start listing all the things that went wrong in your story? First, do first responders realize that patients can hear what they’re saying to ER staff? And for any heart patient with severe symptoms and a cardiac history like yours to wait THREE AND A HALF HOURS in Emerg seems to ignore all emergency protocols that I’m aware of. I’m so sorry about your bypass grafts collapsing – likely not helped at all by those dangerous delays.

      I hope you reported this case to the hospital’s client services office.

      Like

  5. Meghan January 14, 2019 at 6:04 am #

    Last March, I was lying in bed around 10pm on a Saturday night doing word puzzles when suddenly my heart went crazy and started flip-flopping. My husband has A-fib so I suspected what was going on, but I also have 2 stents and lead a cardiac support group and have heard many doctors insist we call 911 when we suspect a heart issue. So I asked my husband to listen to my heart and he confirmed the irregular heartbeat, etc. I took my blood pressure and it was high. We called 911. I can’t remember if I took aspirin or if the paramedics gave me any but I was quite sure it wasn’t a heart attack or blockage. I just knew it was A-fib.

    The first responders were there within minutes because we live quite close to the local fire dept and as it happened they were having a banquet of some kind (so it was kind of unreal when two guys and a woman dressed in a party dress showed up). The ambulance arrived a few minutes later and the first thing the paramedic said to me was “Are you currently experiencing a lot of stress?” or something like that. I quickly informed him of my medical history with heart disease and he backed off from that line of questioning and took me seriously. It did bother me that he asked that question. I’m not sure if he was trying to write me off as an emotional female or not.

    I remember walking to the ambulance and having to climb up into it (good grief!), having said to the paramedics that bringing the gurney around to my door wasn’t necessary. I’ve since been told this probably wasn’t something they should have allowed. Inside they did everything they were supposed to do, got me settled on the monitor and all, and we took off for the hospital, which is probably 20 minutes away.

    And I felt like it took forever to get there. No lights or sirens that I was aware of but possibly lights? I think the lights have to be on by law here as long as there is a patient in the ambulance. But when we arrived the ER care was excellent. It was a “classic” A-fib and later the same paramedic who wondered if it were just stress came in and told me it was the right thing to do to call 911. They got my heart rate back to normal and admitted me to ICU for the night and I went home the next morning and followed up with my cardiologist. Haven’t had A-fib since.

    So, what’s my takeaway? I think I probably wouldn’t call 911 again for A-fib, I would just have my husband drive me. The ambulance bill was well over $1,000. I know A-fib puts you at risk for stroke but I never felt my life was in immediate danger and I guess they didn’t either since they didn’t use the sirens. Overall I felt it was a pretty positive experience in terms of the care they gave me but I did feel I had to advocate for myself — and probably wouldn’t have been so assertive about it had I not frequented this blog and just read your book!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Carolyn Thomas January 14, 2019 at 6:17 am #

      Thanks for sharing that story, Meghan. I was wondering while reading it if all men are routinely asked if they’re under stress, too. I also appreciate you including a takeaway lesson at the end. Whenever an incident like this occurs, it’s a good idea to think about what you’d do – or not do – differently next time. Sounds like right from the get-go, you were assessed as a low-risk case (the stress question and walking to the ambulance were your first clues). So glad you got good care in the ER – and also that your paramedic came back to tell you that you did the right thing (not all of them would take the time to do that).

      Like

  6. June Triplett January 14, 2019 at 5:32 am #

    I believe the medical community has become so unconcerned with women’s health, especially matters of the HEART. I know God led me to diagnose myself, and kindly demand the tests from a cardiologist. Survivor of triple bypass 4 years ago.

    Love, Health and Heart mercies to you all!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas January 14, 2019 at 6:41 pm #

      Thanks for your comment here, June. It seems very lucky for you that your cardiologist responded positively to your “kind” demands for diagnostic tests! Hope you are feeling well these days…

      Like

  7. Brian January 13, 2019 at 10:10 pm #

    I love this site. I’m a 38 year old male who has several conditions that are more commonly found in women, like migraine, TMJ, hypermobility, previous symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome and others. I fully understand and empathize with how women struggle to be taken seriously as many of these ailments are so misunderstood, underestimated, and in some cases not even recognized.

    Recently, after two months of being beaten down by migraines both during the day and at night with huge sleep repercussions, I started having palpitations, a pounding heart, and racing with the mildest of exertion (like going down the stairs). At other times, even exercise can be fine. It’s usually much worse after eating and even drinking water. I have these episodes with feelings like a sudden gut punch where I can’t speak momentarily and get lightheaded. I’ve never felt this feeling before. There is no pain per se, and it feels almost like it comes from the same area that causes nausea. I don’t understand it at all; it’s totally alien and terrifying.

    Outside of these episodes, I’ve had only the slightest chest pain on my left side, generally very brief in duration. Never radiating to arms/neck/jaw. On some days just recently, I’ve had a profusion of burping, and twice had small amounts of vomit come up without warning while typing. Off and on, I’ve had the sensation of something stuck in my throat (something I haven’t had in decades), and once or twice did felt difficulty taking full breaths via mouth, though breathing by nose was alright.

    I’ve had 2 ECG’s that were both normal, a 3 hour monitor, X-ray, and Enzyme test in the ER that all came back fine. On Wednesday, I’m having a stress test and another monitor. I am curious how common it is for heart issues to be missed by all of these tests. I felt very reassured by hearing they were good, but then disappointed to hear stories where awful cardio circumstances somehow escaped their attention. I’m relieved to know that 85% of the time, seemingly cardio-related events are caused by something else and hopeful that there is some other cause–perhaps stomach related since I had vomited a lot during the weeks of constant migraines.

    But when you say, “You know your body and you know when something is wrong,” it hits so close to home. As a lifelong person with migraine, I have a long history of strange unpleasantries including aphasia, insomnia, vomiting, aura, anxiety, extreme pain, and whatever is going on now is well outside the norm of even that history. No frame of reference for this whatsoever.

    Finally, I’ve always been curious if there was any sort of retribution or comeuppance for the doctor who so casually brushed aside your symptoms as acid reflux/GERD, “since you’re right in that demographic.” How cavalier.

    Thank you again for your writing and perspective. It’s fantastic work.

    -Brian

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas January 14, 2019 at 6:39 pm #

      Hello Brian – you have had more than your fair share of dreadful health issues so far! I’m not a physician so I cannot comment specifically on your current symptoms but I can say generally that is seems your symptoms are being taken seriously and all of the most commonly recommended diagnostic tests have been ordered for you. And yes it is fairly common even in men to have diagnostic tests that can miss specific diagnoses. Given the freakish nature of heart attacks caused by sudden plaque rupture, for example, it is not unusual to have perfectly “normal” cardiac diagnostic tests on one day and a major heart attack two days later… Still, we can’t go through life fretting that we might be two days away from catastrophe, since stress and anxiety are not good for our hearts.

      The reality is that right now you don’t know if any of these symptoms are heart-related or not. But SOMETHING is causing them – you just need to find out what. As you correctly say, the vast amount of what seem at first to be heart-related issues turn out not to be – but if not heart, what IS causing them? My only piece of advice while you’re still in the process of diagnostic tests is to start a Symptom Journal (date, time of day, description of the symptom(s), what you were doing/feeling/eating in the 1-2 hours leading up to the onset of symptoms. Often a pattern begins to emerge in such a record that might help you and your physicians solve the mystery.

      In answer to your final question about that Emergency physician who misdiagnosed my heart attack: like most jurisdictions, there is no such thing as mandatory reporting of diagnostic errors here in Canada, thus there’s no way of knowing if he faced any follow-up or “comeuppance” after I was admitted (to the same hospital) with a correctly diagnosed heart attack two weeks later. (My unprofessional guess: probably NOT!)

      I did have some measure of satisfaction however after I returned home following my WomenHeart Science & Leadership patient advocacy training at Mayo Clinic, five months post-diagnosis, when the Emergency Medicine faculty at our hospital invited me to speak for one hour at their annual Education Day about what I’d just learned at Mayo about women’s cardiac misdiagnoses! (Not surprisingly, the ER doc who had misdiagnosed me was not present).

      Like

      • Brian January 15, 2019 at 12:03 am #

        Carolyn,

        Thank you so much for responding. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to know that something so life altering could have been prevented with a little extra regard for you by that individual. It’s so infuriating.

        I can relate to playing a series of events through my mind and wishing I had done something just a bit differently (like not driving to Pittsburgh last November under-rested since that exhausting trip set in motion the chain of migraines that got me to today), but they’re always choices I made, not something that occurred due to someone else’s negligence.

        I don’t know how I would process that kind of anger. I hope you were able to avail yourself of whatever legal or compensatory measures may exist in Canada because the damage was so profound. And I love that you were able to present there on the topic of “misdiagnosis.” That’s so poignant.

        I’m doing my best to focus on things that I’d ordinarily be doing while waiting for more information, though when symptoms pop up, they can take center stage. I have been keeping a daily log, though I could start keeping a separate record specifically for symptoms; that’s a good suggestion. I sometimes wonder whether my heart used to race and pound like this without me noticing. I focus more now cause it both draws attention to itself now and my mind checks in on it even when it’s not necessarily misbehaving.

        Do you by any chance know of any statistics on how often serious heart issues are missed by ECG’s, enzymes, and/or monitors? I’ve learned about SCAD from reading your blog and when I hear that it’s more common among young women, I don’t feel as outside of that demographic as I might ordinarily since I get have a lot of conditions that are more common among women.

        Best to you and thank you again for your vibrant & informative writing,

        -Brian

        Like

  8. Jane Tait January 13, 2019 at 11:55 am #

    I’m so thankful I live in the UK! I won’t deny there were some issues around diagnosing my heart disease but when I had a heart attack the paramedic determined within minutes that I was having a STEMI (100% blocked cardiac artery). He quickly carried out an ECG, administered aspirin and GTN (nitroglycerin).

    The female ambulance driver had lights and sirens going at rush hour and got me the 20+ miles to the nearest hospital in under 25 minutes. I was met at the door by the cardiac team, straight into the cath lab for angiogram and stent. The paramedic saved my life on the journey by managing eventually to get a line in and administering morphine and other drugs as well as defibrillator pads in case of cardiac arrest.

    Thanks to our wonderful amazing NHS, I’m here and well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas January 13, 2019 at 2:48 pm #

      Hello Jane – that sounds like a textbook example of what appropriate care should look like! In the top priority list that Dr. Kupas mentions (ie. should always have lights/sirens on), a STEMI (ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction – considered the most serious type of heart attack) is not on that list. He does mention cardiac arrest, which as you know is not the same thing but very very serious, sometimes is associated with a severe heart attack, and almost always fatal when experienced out-of-hospital.

      Also, your ambulance transport was during rush hour! I just cannot imagine being stuck in rush hour traffic during a heart attack and NOT having lights and sirens on!

      Like

  9. Kathleen Denny January 13, 2019 at 11:25 am #

    In October one Saturday I didn’t feel well and had a wave of queasiness while at the breakfast table. Then, while dressing, suddenly I could barely move, with chest pain and only shallow breathing. Called to my husband, who called 911 and gave me aspirin. Firefighters carried me from the house to the ambulance, where EMTs gave me an EKG and took my blood pressure. Both were unremarkable, though he asked about my heart rate of 42.

    Then they asked me whether I still wanted to go to the hospital, and then drove me to our HMO hospital without lights or siren. Tests over 6 hours were unremarkable. The ER sent me home with instructions to return promptly for any of 7 symptoms.

    I saw that I had 4 of them when we called 911.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas January 13, 2019 at 3:09 pm #

      Jeez Louise! You had FOUR of the seven cardiac symptoms that warranted immediate return to the ER? A distressingly common scenario for women, once you’ve been sent home from the ER (feeling embarrassed for having made a fuss over “nothing”) is a profound reluctance to return to the ER if the same symptoms return later – because you’ve already been told “it’s not your heart”.

      Also, when the paramedic asks you directly if you “still want to go to the hospital” – that just screams out “you’re wasting our time!”, doesn’t it?

      Like

  10. Charlotte Burnham January 13, 2019 at 8:52 am #

    The lights & sirens were on when they CAME to my house. But when I was being transported to the hospital (for a NSTEMI) that’s about 20 miles away, I remember asking if we had lights & sirens on. I was a little loopy on the nitro and the lack of oxygen getting to my brain, I think, because it didn’t even occur to me that I would probably hear the sirens if they were on! I remember the EMT telling me that they were not on and he gave me some convoluted reason about how it wouldn’t change how fast we got to the hospital or that I was stable enough not to need them, or something like that. (Again–a little loopy!)

    But, now I think, huh? I know those roads well and there’s too much traffic to be able to go full speed at 6:00 on a weeknight. And if I was actually that stable, then what was I doing in the ambulance at all? What exactly did I have to do to warrant being enough of an emergency for them to go that extra step?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas January 13, 2019 at 3:29 pm #

      Hi Charlotte – that decision does makes sense if you read the report by Dr. Kupas, about the recommendation towards fewer lights/sirens overall. Lights and sirens on the way to your house, but then a decision that they weren’t necessary for transport to hospital once they’ve examined you and determined that you are ‘stable’. I guess they could have invited you to make your own way to the ER if you were THAT stable! 😦

      It’s just that we believe intuitively that flashing lights and loud sirens mean business!! No lights or sirens = they’re not taking our heart attack seriously!

      Again, that rush hour traffic issue is problematic. Things can go from bad to worse pretty fast during a heart attack in the back of that ambulance, so I find it hard to understand why at 6pm on a weeknight ANY ambulance would choose to remain delayed by rush hour traffic!

      Like

  11. Sue Murphy January 13, 2019 at 8:12 am #

    I cannot comment on lights and sirens as I wasn’t transported……was told by Cardiology nurse the next time BP was high to go to the ER…..in the ambulance – don’t drive yourself.

    Called 911, requested ambulance, met them on the square in our tiny mountain town as we live on a steep mountain. BP was 196/129…..medic said well, we won’t treat it in the ambulance and they probably won’t treat in the ER, just observe. But if you want we can take you in. I told them I have 4 stents and have a history of angina. Didn’t change things. I decided to go home.

    As I walked off the ambulance, the other medic patted my arm and said, Go home and relax, that will help. Had that been my Dad (who was standing behind me) they would have taken him in. He too has stents and bypasses, but he IS a man.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Juli Star-Alexander January 13, 2019 at 7:52 am #

    Mysogyny in medicine is horrifying!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas January 13, 2019 at 7:58 am #

      Hello Juli – I’m 100% positive that the paramedics in these ambulances would strongly deny any suggestion that they are mysogynists. So would the Emergency physicians and GPs who continue to dismiss women. Yet somehow these things continue…

      Like

      • Juli Star-Alexander January 13, 2019 at 11:11 am #

        I read that many drugs were only tested in men, like statins, and so (if true) drugs may well react differently in women (like statins, where they can create Type II diabetes in post-menopausal women.

        Lawyer training, basic first year, “deny, deny, deny”. Hope this is not too snarky to post! I won’t take statins despite my coronary SVD and acquired (through CADASIL arteriopathy) patent foramen ovale (PFO – a hole in the heart).

        Like

  13. Michelle Marissa January 13, 2019 at 6:45 am #

    My emergency surgery was in 2009 … I ignored the first two severe heart attacks (had three within a week and a half) because no doctor ever believed I was having heart symptoms so I was embarrassed to ask for help and be offered Prozac again for my so-called ‘stress’ …

    After the third one I called my dr’s office, nurse said to go to ER. Turned out I had TEN blocked arteries … so much for Prozac being the answer.

    I only comment again here and on this topic because it’s 2019 … ten years … and NOTHING has changed?

    I’ll be 79 in April, have since had uterine cancer, my third major surgery … I’m so grateful to be alive, but so dismayed that women are still treated as a non-entity in so many ways.

    Who makes these decisions, what are the statistics of female heart attacks vs male? When my two male cousins, around my age, had THEIR heart attacks they were IMMEDIATELY rushed to surgery! One of them only had needed one stent, the other had double bypass surgery. Two big sturdy guys compared to my 5’2 small low weight body … and my TEN blocked arteries, with only four able to be repaired.

    How can this go on not ever changing the medical profession’s viewpoint on women?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas January 13, 2019 at 8:02 am #

      I too am alarmed that we’re still seeing this, Michelle! I’ve been told a number of times by cardiologists that what happened to me (sent home in mid-heart attack from the ER with an acid reflux misdiagnosis) in 2008 could never happen today: physicians are more aware of women’s heart disease, better diagnostic tools, etc. Yet every week yet another study saying the same thing comes across my desk. I wrote more about this frustrating reality here. *sigh*

      Like

  14. Pam McNulty January 13, 2019 at 4:57 am #

    I thought I heard it all but when you talked about no siren or lights, I had to chuckle.

    My last heart attack I was picked up by ambulance and you guessed it: no lights or sirens for me! I had called my son to pick up our car in the parking lot because I was having a heart attack again and he pulled up just as the ambulance was pulling away. He later told me he knew I was ok because there were no lights or sirens!

    He used to be a paramedic and now works for the sherriff’s department so he thought that was the case. Oy yoy, as we say in Wisconsin.

    Tomorrow morning I go for my 4th cardiac cath…. finally found a cardiologist who hears me and actually studied my case!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn Thomas January 13, 2019 at 5:37 am #

      Thanks for sharing that story, Pam. “…He knew I was ok because there were no lights or sirens!” is just what most of us would assume, too! Good luck with tomorrow’s cath.

      Like

    • Jenn Mazza January 13, 2019 at 6:12 am #

      Pam – Wisconsin? Me too. Who is the cardiologist?

      Like

      • Pam McNulty January 13, 2019 at 12:16 pm #

        Jenn, My new cardiogist is new at agnesian healthcare in Fond du Lac. His name is Dr Balderama and totally thorough. I feel i am in good hands this time.

        Like

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