Here is potentially life-saving advice from Dr. Stewart Segal who blogs at

Dr Segal is a Board Certified Family Physician. He is a pioneer in open access medicine. He is a physician educator, teaching both patients and physicians. He has served as an investigator in over 30 clinical trials. Dr Segal’s passion is preventative medicine.


February 8, 2012

All too often, my patients take a “wait and see” attitude about life.

Patient – “Doc, last night I thought I was having a heart attack.  The pain in my chest was severe!”

Doc – “Why didn’t you call the paramedics?”

Patient – “I thought I’d wait and see if the pain would go away.”

This conversation occurred in the coronary care unit of the local hospital.  This patient did not die but did sustain irreparable damage to his heart.  What was he waiting for?  He really didn’t know.  He was in denial!  In actuality, he was waiting to see if he would die or if he would sustain permanent damage to his life.

Patient – “Early this morning, I was awakened by a severe headache.  It felt like my brain was exploding.  It lasted hours.  My right arm and leg felt numb.  I thought I was having a stroke.”

Doc – “Why didn’t you call the paramedics?  There is a golden period for treating strokes.  Yours expired 8 hours ago!”

This conversation occurred in the ER at the local hospital.  This patient thought he would wait and see if his headache got better.  His headache did get better.  He also lost partial use of the right side of his body.  His “wait and see” attitude was a crippling mistake.

The next time you decide to “wait and see,” ask yourself, “What am I waiting for?”  If the answer is that you are waiting to see if it really is a heart attack or stroke, you are wasting precious time.  There are golden periods during which appropriate medical interventions can avert the worst outcomes.  Call the paramedics!  Today’s ambulance is a mobile intensive care unit.

Please don’t wait to see if your spouse can find your corpse lying next to her in the morning.  Please don’t wait to find out what living in a nursing home is like.  Please access care as soon as that elephant sits on your chest or that explosion occurs in your brain.  The life you save will be your own!