My cellphone rang at 2 a.m.
That’s always a bad thing. Usually, it meant a medical emergency.
My uncle was on the line. “Your aunt’s having some chest discomfort for around ten minutes.” I snapped fully awake at the words, suspecting a heart attack. “It’s getting worse. Not really chest pain, but…”
I interrupted. “Take her to ______ hospital right away,” I said, naming a specialty hospital nearby where there would be facilities to investigate her for an acute coronary syndrome and treat it.
For reasons best known to him, uncle chose another smaller hospital nearer home. It was a decision that almost cost her life!
An inexperienced junior doctor, who also played “cardiologist on call”, mismanaged her case. The episode of unstable angina, which might have been reversed with prompt treatment, evolved into a full-blown heart attack.
Treatment was lengthy and expensive. Aunt survived with little damage to her heart. She was lucky. Many are not. That’s why it is important to learn all about a heart attack and understand what to do if you notice signs of heart attack.