The city of Denton and the American Heart Association proclaimed April 5 “Don’t Die of Doubt Day” at the city council meeting last Tuesday, their effort to bring awareness to the signs and symptoms of cardiac arrest.
Heart disease kills almost 1 in 4 people in the United States every year. It is the leading cause of death in the United States and in North Texas, more than 4,800 people over the age of 50 experienced a heart attack last year.
Denton’s fire department and three hospitals, Presbyterian Denton, Heart Hospital Baylor Denton and Denton Regional Medical Center, have partnered with the American Heart Association to ensure the citizens of Denton are able to obtain the proper treatment if they experience cardiac arrest.
Denton’s fire department and their paramedics are trained and qualified to treat citizens who go into cardiac arrest immediately at the scene, Denton Fire Department’s battalion chief of emergency medical services, Brian Glenn, said.
“But none of that matters if people with the signs and symptoms of a heart attack don’t take the first step and call 911, so that’s why the fire department and the hospitals have all partnered with the American Heart Association on this Doubt Die of Doubt campaign,” Glenn said. “We want everyone to be familiar with the signs and symptoms of heart disease and to not hesitate to call 911.”
Calling 911 immediately when experiencing from symptoms of a heart attack can save the person’s live. The fire department is as capable to help someone as the hospitals are.
UNT professor, R. Jefferson George, experienced cardiac arrest in January. He thanks the Denton’s fire department for saving his life that day.
“On January 15, I had a cardiac arrest. There were no signs and symptoms,” George said. “It was only because people did call 911 and I had coworkers who knew CPR and the fire department was there almost immediately that I received the treatment that I needed to be saved. I am so honored actually to be here.”
Not everyone knows that calling 911 instead of taking themselves to the hospital can save their live, however. Driving themselves to the hospital can delay treatment up to an hour, Denton Mayor Christ Watts said.
“Only 40 percent of people experiencing a warning sign of a heart attack call 911. That is remarkable,” Watts said. “Reducing treatment time by calling 911 is vital to surviving a heart attack.”
Watts has also experienced symptoms of a heart attack. One day he was driving from Dallas and experienced heart palpitations. He continued to drive himself to the emergency room instead of pulling over and calling 911.
“I got a little chided for that so this is as good for me as it is for anyone else,” Watts said.