Sometimes it’s better to take an ambulance to the hospital than have a friend drive you in an emergency.  It may sound scary and lonely, but it maybe better for you. Why?

Ambulance assures treatment

According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, “… if you are unconscious or come into the emergency department by ambulance, you will be assessed and treated right away.  If you walk into the emergency department or someone else drives you, you will come into the waiting room where you will be assessed by a triage staff member, usually a nurse…. And the most critically ill and injured patients will be treated first…  Sometimes that means you will not be treated for hours… or days.” If you walk into the emergency room, you might wait for hours.  If you can legitimately call an ambulance, you will be seen right away.  This is emergency room policy.

How I learned this

I found this out in a round-about way.  When my mother had to go to the hospital last year, she called my brother to take her.  My sister-in-law, a nurse, apparently said to him – “don’t be ridiculous, call an ambulance for her.”  At first I thought this was rather heartless advice, thinking that my mother would have liked my brother to be there with her every step of the way.  Then I found out that my sister-in-law’s advice was based on the fact that she knew the system, and knew that my mother might sit and wait for hours.

As noted on the ACEP site, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 136 million people requested care from emergency rooms in 2009 in the U.S.  Overcrowding is an issue, especially because the number of emergency departments decreased by 9% between 1995 and 2005 (ACEP).

The site, emergencycareforyou.org, hosted by the ACEP, has some great information on emergencies and what to expect and do.

We all hope we will never need an ambulance, but if and when you think you do, call one, as time and access to treatment are crucial in an emergency.

By Bojinka Bishop

 

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