New study shows people are putting off going to the doctor - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/13/10

New study shows people are putting off going to the doctor because they can't afford it

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By Karin McCay| email

Edited by Kristin Beerman | email 

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – We know every minute counts when someone is having a heart attack, but a new study shows just how many people in this country are delaying lifesaving care because they're afraid they can't afford it. The report in the Journal of the American Medical Association describes this as the first study that links a lack of health insurance with delayed emergency treatment for heart attacks.  People like Larry Scott, who is lucky to be alive and regrets waiting so long to go to the hospital for his symptoms.

"I was kinda upset because I should have thought more of my family than worrying about ok didn't have medical insurance or the bills that were going to be piling up on me," said Larry Scott, a heart patient. 

"49% of uninsured patients were more likely to wait more than six hours before coming into the hospital and 45% of patients with health care insurance but with financial concerns in accessing medical care waited more than six hours before coming into the hospital," said Paul Chan, M.D., with the Mid America Heart Institute.

Dr. Chan is one of the co-authors of the study, which followed more than 3,700 heart attack patients at 24 U.S. hospitals in a recent four year period.  He says people should know that when you wait that long for treatment of a heart attack, you miss out on some treatment options like clot busting drugs that could have improved the outcome.

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