DECATUR-When Bill Wood had sharp chest pain Monday night, he didn't want himself or his wife behind the wheel.
"Her first reaction was just get in the van and I'll drive you," Wood says.
His daughter had already dialed 9-11 an ambulance was on the way. Before he arrived at the hospital firefighters and EMTs had already given him nitroglycerin, oxygen, aspirin and an IV.
"They were able to start things a little sooner and give the hospital a heads up-they had a proper room ready for me," Wood says.
Dr. Shailesh Nandish of the Prairie Heart Institute treats patients who drive to the ER.
"Most people think by driving themselves they are saving time." And he says many wait too long. Research says many Americans wait two hours before seeking medical attention for heart attack symptoms.
Nandish says the benefit of calling 9-11 is faster treatment, because the hospital is ready to receive you. Wood says it's lifesaving."It's comforting knowing I was being cared for by people who knew what they were doing" People who can help you fast if you help yourself first by calling 9-11.