Growing number of adults putting themselves, others in danger by not calling 911

Many patients try to drive themselves to hospital

DETROIT – A growing number of adults who may be having a medical emergency are putting themselves and others in danger by not calling 911.

Doctor Sanford Vieder said he's noticed a trend at the emergency room at Beaumont Farmington Hills.

"Patients are more likely to not call 911 and try and drive themselves to the emergency department," Vieder said. "Roughly half of all patients that have a heart attack actually drive themselves to the hospital."

Doing so puts the patient and other drivers in danger. It also can reduce the patient's odds of survival and their level of recovery.

Chris Yuergens is a cardiac arrest survivor and Vieder wants people to hear his story.

Yuergens said he felt pain while mowing the lawn on a hot summer day. He yelled to his wife to call 911. Then, his heart had stopped beating and he lost consciousness. 

"Not only did Mr. Yuergens go into cardiac arrest once, he actually went into cardiac arrest three times in our presence and each time he did, we recognized it right away. We defibrillated him," said Jim Etzin, coordinator of emergency medical services at Farmington Hills.

Yuergens said, if his wife hadn't been home to call 911, he may have died.

"She probably would have came home and found me either in the garage or in the house dead," he said.

Medical care providers want patients to know that their health and safety needs to be a priority, even when thinking about the costs associated with calling 911. In most cases, if a patient is not transported to a hospital, they won't receive a bill for services rendered.

Patients are also reminded that the 911 system is available when people need help, and they shouldn't feel as if, by calling 911, they are bothering someone with a condition that isn't severe enough to warrant the call.

About the Authors:

Amber Ainsworth

Amber is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn with a Journalism and Screen Studies degree. She is a writer and photographer who covers music and local beer, when she's not covering news. Amber is also a member of the Michigan National Guard.