Waiting is a bad move

Times Staff Writer

IT’S the bottom of the sixth inning and the score is tied. So what if those chest pains are getting more intense -- a trip to the emergency room is going to have to wait.

That’s how a lot of men think, new research suggests.

Dr. David A. Jerrard of the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore studied emergency room patterns at his hospital during and after 796 televised sporting events. He found that men’s visits to the ER swelled by 50% in the four-hour period following a professional football game and by 30% to 40% after a baseball game, as compared with visits during the contests.

And these weren’t even championship games such as the Super Bowl or World Series. Jerrard purposely studied only regular-season games to see if men routinely delayed getting help.


“What concerns us the most are patients who put off seeking care for serious illness, such as chest pain, which could represent some sort of cardiac problem,” says Jerrard, an associate professor of emergency medicine. “The longer they delay their arrival, the tougher it could be for them and the harder it can be for us as well.” Jerrard, who presented his study last week at the annual meeting of the American College of Emergency Physicians, plans to study whether the delay in seeking care actually does lead to increased death rates or complications.