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Fast Action Saves Lives: Role Plays

Download Fast Action Saves Lives: Role Plays pdf document (41k, 3 pages) handout.

Role Play 1: At Home

Actor 1

You are at home having breakfast with your spouse. You tell your spouse that you woke up not feeling well. You have a variety of warning signs, including the following:

  • You feel some pressure and discomfort in your chest.
  • Your arm hurts.
  • You feel short of breath.
  • You feel a little light-headed.

Actor 2

You look worried — you are not sure what is wrong, but your spouse looks sick. You tell your spouse you have recently heard about the signs of a heart attack and are worried that this may be the problem. You say that maybe it is best if you call 9-1-1.

Actor 1

You insist it is nothing, probably just indigestion. It will pass; you will be fine.

Actor 2

You reply by telling your spouse why it is important to call 9-1-1 right away:

  • Even if you are not sure it is a heart attack, it is best to check it out.
  • If it is a heart attack, fast treatment can prevent damage to the heart.
  • Getting to the hospital quickly means that treatment can start right away and maybe save your life.

You call 9-1-1.

Role Play 2: At Work

Actor 1

You are at work one afternoon, and you see that your coworker does not look well.
You ask if anything is wrong.

Actor 2

You reply that you came to work this morning not feeling quite right. You describe the warning signs:

  • A heavy feeling in the center of the chest
  • Difficulty catching your breath
  • Feeling sick to your stomach
  • Feeling light-headed
  • Some pain going down the left arm

Actor 1

You say you have heard that these signs may mean a heart attack. If so, it is best to get it checked out right away at the hospital. You offer to call 9-1-1.

Actor 2

You give your coworker many reasons why this is not necessary.

  • You ate a big lunch, and it's just indigestion, nothing serious.
  • You don't want to cause a scene at work and get everybody worried.
  • You want to wait and see if the pain goes away in a little while.
  • If you went to the hospital, no one would be there to pick up your grandson from daycare.

Actor 1

You tell your coworker why it is important to call 9-1-1 right away. You make the call.

Role Play 3: At Night

Actor 1

You are at home one night reading a magazine when you suddenly start to feel very sick. You call your neighbor on the phone to say you are not feeling well.
You describe the signs.

  • You suddenly feel a very bad pain in the center of your chest.
  • You are out of breath, and you are breaking out in a cold sweat.

You feel it is something bad, and you think you should drive yourself to the hospital. Will your neighbor go with you?

Actor 2

You tell your neighbor you are worried because these symptoms sound like the warning signs of a heart attack. You say in this case it is best to call 9-1-1, not to drive yourself, so you will get to the hospital safely and be treated right away.

Actor 1

You protest that you don't want to wake up the neighborhood and cause a big scene with the siren and all the lights; it's easier to drive.

Actor 2

You tell your neighbor why it is better to call the emergency service.

  • Emergency personnel can start medical care right away.
  • If your heart stops beating, emergency personnel can revive you.
  • Heart attack patients who arrive by ambulance tend to receive faster treatment when they get to the hospital.

Actor 1

You agree that this makes sense. You ask your neighbor to call 9-1-1 for you right away and then come over to be with you.

Back to Session 2

Information on this page is taken from the English print version of “Your Heart, Your Life, A Community Health Worker's Manual.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, NIH Publication No. 08-3674, Originally Printed 1999, Revised May 2008.

Last Updated March 2012

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