Inter-Community Medical Center has opened a chest pain emergency unit, designed to evaluate and treat patients who may be having initial symptoms of a heart attack.
Dr. Dan Kiss, director of the unit, said statistics show that people experiencing chest pain wait an average of three hours before seeking medical help. He said the hospital wants people to understand that chest pain is a warning sign and that medical treatment during the first hours of a heart attack can be crucial in minimizing heart muscle damage.
The unit includes five emergency cardiac beds equipped with life-support systems and heart-monitoring equipment. The beds are set apart from the emergency room to provide a quieter, less stressful atmosphere for chest pain patients.
Kiss said that although many people with chest pain do not have heart problems, there is always that possibility. And he warned that anyone with symptoms lasting more than a few minutes should not drive to Inter-Community or any other hospital but instead should phone 911 for the paramedics.