Inside an Ambulance

04/26/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Would you know what to do if you needed an ambulance or if you had to go to an emergency room? During 2005, an estimated 115 million visits were made to emergency rooms in the United States -- up 31 percent from 1995. About 14 percent of patients arrive via ambulance. Emergency rooms across America are overloaded -- partly because many of the almost 50 million uninsured use the emergency room as their primary physician (and partly because we tend to focus on treatment of illness rather than prevention -- but that's another blog).

During the next two segments, I will take you way behind the scenes and give you tips on how to be prepared in case the unexpected happens and you end up on your way to an emergency room. This week I play the part of a patient with chest pain and take you inside a New York City ambulance with paramedics Ray Cordi and Hanan Cohen. Next week my colleague, Richard Schlesinger, and I continue your tour inside the emergency room at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, the first time this institution (where I am on staff) has ever allowed such inside access to the media.