A nurse stationed on Australia’s isolated far west coast experienced chest pain and dizziness — signs of heart attack — but he was almost a hundred miles from the next nearest medical facility.
So he pushed past the pain to diagnose and treat himself, according to a report of the case published March 8 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The 44-year-old worked at a nursing post in remote Coral Bay, more than 600 miles from the nearest major city, Perth.
When his heart attack symptoms began, the unnamed nurse gave himself an electrocardiogram (ECG). He quickly emailed the results to an ER physician, using Australia’s Emergency Telehealth Service.
“The electrocardiogram showed complete heart block,” wrote medical staffer Felicity Lee and her colleagues at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Nedlands, Western Australia.
Numerous other signs of serious heart attack were found on a second ECG the nurse emailed off to the doctors.
He quickly went to work to save himself, setting up his own intravenous line for the various drugs — including clot-busters and painkillers — needed to survive the attack.
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