James Gandolfini Dies of Heart Attack in Italy: Can Early Response and Aspirin Save Lives?


Home / James Gandolfini Dies of Heart Attack in Italy: Can Early Response and Aspirin Save Lives?
In the U.S. patients are brought to the doctor.

In the U.S. patients are brought to the doctor. Photo by Eyone

Paramedic Care Differences Between Nations

Reports are unclear as to when Gandolfini died, was it in the ambulance? If so, what kind of care did he receive? Is there a difference in the care that U.S. paramedics give verses those overseas?

One study looks at just this question: entitled, “Anglo-American vs. Franco-German emergency medical services system.” In this study, researchers examined the differences between the Anglo-American Emergency Medical Service System (AAS) and the Franco-German Emergency Medical Services System (FGS).

The key differences are that in the AAS, the patient is brought to the doctor whereas in the FGS the doctor is brought to the patient in some cases. In an emergency, an emergency physcian treats patients at the scene and during transport; Paramedics arrive first, before the physician, and are allowed to defibrillate, to intubate endotracheally, and to administer life-saving drugs like epinephrine orally.

The time at the scene within the FGS is minimal and comparable to the AAS system, but tThe FGS has decreased the incidence of life-threatening trauma victims to less than ten percent. Of a total of 830,000 deaths per year, fatal trauma cases ranked the lowest at 4 percent in the FGS, and survival figures on cardiac arrest reported in the German EMSS correspond to those in Europe and the United States.

Heart Attacks Need Immediate Care

Heart attacks are a life and death situation and need immediate treatment. If you are with someone who is experiencing chest pain, jaw pain, or discomfort in the upper body, and/or is having shortness of breath, is breaking out in a cold sweat, is lightheaded, and/or nauseated, then this person maybe having a heart attack. Sending for help right away, as James Gandolfini’s son did, doesn’t always help, but fast treatment by emergency medical personnel and even something as small as an aspirin may help save a life.


American Heart Association. Warning Signs of a Heart Attack. (2013). Accessed June 20, 2013.

USA Today News. Gandolfini wanted to ‘reconnect with Italian roots.’ (2013). Accessed June 20, 2013.

Dick, WF. Anglo-American vs. Franco-German emergency medical services system. (2003). Prehospital and Disaster Medicine. 18(1):29-35; discussion 35-7. Accessed June 20, 2013.

Harvard Medical School. Aspirin for heart attack: chew or swallow? (2005). Accessed June 20, 2013.

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