African-American Stroke Victims: Most Call a Friend or Relative Before 911?

A study says a delay in 911 calls is partly the reason blacks have a lower chance of surviving strokes. 

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There are a number of reasons for the disparity between African-American and white stroke victims, but no one would think it had anything to do with calling 911. A recent study by Georgetown University Medical Center showed that instead of calling 911 during a stroke, most African Americans call a friend or relative, significantly decreasing their chance of survival.

When researchers asked 100 acute stroke patients, along with those who accompanied them to the hospital, they found that a whopping 75 percent called someone else first instead of 911 when they realized something was wrong. Eighty-nine percent said that there was a significant delay in seeking medical attention, while almost half attributed the delay to not thinking their symptoms were serious.

"Every minute, more brain cells die," said Chelsea Kidwell, director of Georgetown University's Stroke Center, which conducted the research. Even though the window for treatment can be up to 4½ hours for some people, "the time between hitting the emergency room door and getting the medication should be under 60 minutes," she said.

Researchers were also shocked to discover that few of the patients were aware of the time-sensitive, clot-busting medications at hospitals that could help them during a stroke.

Read more at the Washington Post

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