In April of 2009, St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, a Syracuse hospital, received chest pain center certification by the Society of Chest Pain Centers. St. Joseph’s Hospital mistakes are expected to decrease with the accreditation because the certification means that the hospital is committed to state-of-the-art care, including prompt identification of a heart attack and quick treatment. The faster that a heart attack is treated, the better the outcome.
A heart attack may not be treated quickly for several reasons. First, many people do not go straight to the hospital after they experience chest pain. On average, most heart attack victims do not arrive in an emergency room until two hours after a heart attack stops. From there, emergency room errors may lead to improper triage and a patient may not see a physician, or specialist such as a cardiologist, for several hours. Where patients are promptly seen by emergency room staff, chest pain due to a heart attack is commonly misdiagnosed as indigestion and patients are frequently sent home without life-saving treatment.
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