Rosie O'Donnell's Heart Attack Story: Why We Don't Call 911

   By SheSpeaksTeam  Aug 23, 2012

Though some of us are well aware of the symptoms of having a heart attack, what we do when experiencing them is another story. All too many women chalk up their chest pains or discomfort and numbness in their arms to muscle pains. Many will take an aspirin if they are suspicious of heart attack, but will still put off making that emergency call to 911 until it’s too late.

Comedian Rosie O’Donnell can now count herself as one of the lucky ones to still be alive after waiting a day to see a doctor during a heart attack. In a recent blog post O’Donnell reveals that she assumed her chest pains and sore arms were due to a pulled muscle. More symptoms like nausea and vomiting prompted O’Donnell to do a Google search of “women’s heart attack symptoms” and even though she had many of the symptoms she did little more than take an aspirin (which may have saved her life).

The next day O’Donnell saw her doctor and after running tests she learned she had a very serious heart attack (often referred to as the “widow maker”) with her left anterior descending atery (LAD) 99% blocked. Though O’Donnell is in fact lucky to be alive the truth is many women are not so lucky. O’Donnell knows this too as she recites some facts about women and heart attacks she says, “50% of women having heart attacks never call 911, 200,000 women die of heart attack every year in the US, by some miracle I was not one of them.”

Do you think Rosie O’Donnell’s response to her symptoms of a heart attack are common among women?

Please share stories, symptoms, and how you or someone you love responded to the beginning stages of a heart attack.

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jen8763 by jen8763 | cleveland, OH
Apr 06, 2013

You just have to be aware of your body and the changes. Always follow your gut feelings and most importantly get a blood pressure kit. That is what ultimately saved my life. If mine wasn't so low I would have gone to bed instead of going to the hospital.

leahpet by leahpet | WINFIELD PARK, NJ
Sep 06, 2012

that sounds do you really know what signs and symptoms to look for and when to go to the doctor.

jen8763 by jen8763 | cleveland, OH
Aug 26, 2012

When I was 34 I had a massive heart attack. I was wrapping gifts for Christmas and I was starting to feel overwhelmed. Then I started feeling like I had the flu. I decided to take my blood pressure just to see what it would be when I had te flu. As it turned out it was 70 over 47. My husband thought it would be best to check it out so he took me to the emergecy room. This was all at 2 a.m.After a few tests the couldn't believe it. I was in the mist of the heart attack. They gave me tpa and I was admitted. Come to find out I needed a triple bypass. They told me if I went to bed that night I wouldn't be here today. That was December 21, 1997. I am very lucky!!

didama by didama | MAPLEWOOD, NJ
Aug 24, 2012

Wow! This is so scary. But, its not surprising. I think people (and women in particular) do not want to overreact to symptoms because we can be seen as hysterical. Plus, our days are so busy, we are not that focused on our own health. What happened to Rosie underscores how important it is to be overly cautious about your health. So glad that she's ok.

cocoabella by cocoabella | EL PASO, TX
Aug 23, 2012

I agree this is a typical reaction from women suffering heart attack symptoms.

lodiesblog by lodiesblog | SACRAMENTO, CA
Aug 23, 2012

I think that her actions are definitely common; however, I wish that more people would realize, if you feel like something is wrong there probably is. It's always better to be safe than sorry.