What to Do In A Medical Emergency

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are nearly 150 million emergency room visits each year. Reasons range from a broken bone, a burn, choking, a bee sting, a stroke, to heart attacks and more. The list goes on and on. In an earlier blog I wrote about heart attacks in women. But for most people, the hope is that it will never happen to them. Thatís why so many people donít give it a lot of thought and arenít prepared for a medical emergency when one occurs.

If that sounds like you, here are three important questions you should be asking:

  • Would I recognize a medical emergency?
  • Would I know when to call 9-1-1?
  • What should I do after I call 9-1-1?

Not knowing the answers to these three important questions is one of the main reasons people die in a medical emergency even though their death could be preventable.† Unfortunately, 40 percent of Americans donít know a single symptom of a stroke even though itís the third most common cause of death in the United States.

Thatís why I, together with Shelly Glazier, have written a new book called Save Your Life: What To Do In A Medical Emergency. Itís a simple to read and easy to understand guide that answers the three important questions above. Here are four important examples taken from our Save Your Life book to help you when you are faced with a medical emergency.

If you think there could be a medical emergency:

Should you:

  • Call your doctor?

No! Waiting for the doctor to call back wastes valuable time.

  • Rest to see if you feel better?

No! Waiting to see if the symptoms pass also wastes time that could save a life because the sooner you get medical care, the more likely you are to live.

  • Drive yourself to the hospital?

No! If you drive yourself to the hospital, you might pass out or stop breathing on the way.

  • Call a family member or friend for a ride to the hospital?

No! Do not ask family or friends to drive you to the hospital (unless emergency services are not available). If you lose consciousness, your driver likely wonít be able to help you.

Here is why you should call 9-1-1 immediately whenever you think itís an emergency:

  • When you call 9-1-1, the responding Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) will monitor you. If you stop breathing or your heart stops beating, they will give you emergency treatment on the way to the hospital.
  • They also will notify the emergency room staffs of your condition, so when you arrive they will know you need immediate treatment.
  • Calling 9-1-1 is the safest and fastest way to get medical care. Remember, car accidents are more likely to happen when family or friends are trying to rush you to the hospital.

People Often AskÖ

Iíve had many symptoms at one time or another that I worried could be an emergency. How will I know when to call 9-1-1?

The Answer IsÖ

Everyone knows how his or her own body normally feels. When your body starts to feel very unusual or strange, donít try to diagnose the symptoms on your own. Call 9-1-1 immediately. For example, if you experience a sudden onset of extreme fatigue, or any other symptoms that youíve never felt before, donít ignore it. Call 9-1-1. It could be a heart attack.

The Center for 9-1-1 Says: Make the right call.† If it could be life threatening or youíre not sure, donít guessÖcall 9-1-1!

Earlier in this article I mentioned that only 40 percent of Americans know even one symptom of a stroke. Just in case you are one of them, here is what you need to remember to save someoneís life from a stroke. Remember the first letters; they spell the word FAST:

Common Symptoms of Stroke
The National Stroke Associationís ďACT FAST©Ē list can help you identify the symptoms of a stroke. People with high blood pressure or women on HRT are at more risk:

FACE:† Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

ARMS:† Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

SPEECH:† Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Ask them to repeat a phrase. Are the words slurred or strange?

TIME:† If the person shows any of these symptoms, time is important because brain cells die every second.

For more information about Save Your Life: What To Do In A Medical Emergency go to DoctorSeibel.com or to purchase the book go to Amazon.com.

Related: 8 First Aid Emergencies and the Myths That Make Them Worse


ii q.
g d c5 years ago


Bob P.

thanks for sharing

Victoria Pitchford
Vicky P6 years ago

yup, call 911 is always the best thing

Laura S.
Past Member 6 years ago

I've heard about this over and over from Drs show and Dr Oz show. :D Plus I heard from other people that if you drove someone to hospital, that person died, you go to jail cuz you're responsible for his/her death. If you called 911, you die on way to hospital, nothing happens to paramedics cuz they tried to save you. Scary thought!!

Patricia G.
Patricia G6 years ago

Thank you. Call 112 in Portugal!

tiffany t.
tiffany t6 years ago

remain calm

Chad A.
Chad A6 years ago

Remember that 911 may not be the number for emergency services where you live. Know who to call in an emergency. Practicing and thinking about emergencies makes it easier when the time comes.

Kimberlee W.
Kimberlee W6 years ago

(the home is at the end of a very curvy, 5-mile cul-de-sac)
Had to use an ambulance once for a busted ligament in my knee. That was the hardest decision I had to make at that point in my life and I wish I'd just let them go. Cost me over $5000 in charges between the ambulance, the hospital, the cast and a doctor actually throwing me out of his office in mid-appt'. when he & I found out together that my ex had cancelled my insurance illegally.
All they managed to do was immobilize my leg. They did nothing for my pain or disability and actually demanded I find someone to drive me home. It didn't matter to them that I'd just arrived in that town less than a month previous.
Took me 6 yrs, but I paid it off. Next time, I'll just go to Home Depot, buy my own 2X4 and some duct tape.

Kimberlee W.
Kimberlee W6 years ago

My husband and I have a home we hope to get back to if we ever can afford health insurance there.The problem is that the town has cancelled its ambulance service and the closest hospital is almost an hour away.
I really don't see any other option than getting one of us into the car, if possible, and try to meet the ambulance en route. (t

Geetha Subramaniam

Thanks for posting.