Do I need an ambulance?

Immediate medical attention and transportation are the two key reasons an ambulance would be sent to your location. If the situation is not urgent, is non-medical and can be self-managed, you do not need an ambulance.

Mobile medical services

Ambulances are typically thought to be “hospitals on wheels”.

Every ambulance brings the “hospital to you” and for the phone dispatcher to allow medical resources to be used in this way, the situation has to be serious enough. Otherwise, medical services should be prioritised for more urgent cases.

If you are able to get to the hospital on your own, it is recommended you board a taxi or Uber.

List of situations where you should call an ambulance

  1. Injury to the head or skull
  2. Injury to the back, spine or backbone
  3. Bleeding that does not stop
  4. Chest pain
  5. Victim is trapped and cannot move
  6. Victim has breathing difficulties
  7. Prolonged weakness in limbs & arms (for days)

Reasons why ambulance is needed for your medical condition

In the above list of situations, the human organs involved are usually the lungs, heart and skeletal areas.

Compromised vital organs

These are essential body parts, if compromised, will become life threatening or have long-term impacts to the casualty. In such cases, an ambulance is needed. Emergency services deem these situations critical. Medical crew and firefighters will respond to the scene first, before other less urgent cases.

Non emergency scenario becomes an Emergency (Chronic symptoms)

Sometimes, next-of-kin (i.e. patient’s family) take some situations too lightly. In reported cases where general weakness or shallow breathing has been continued and lasted days, children have told paramedics that this was the “norm for the patient”.

A degradation in the medical condition is categorised in 2 ways: sudden onset or chronic symptoms.

Chronic symptoms that develop slowly over a period of time can be left untreated if undetected. This is also known to be a silent killer. When families like you realise the severity of the condition, the magnitude and gravity of the situation is usually too poor for further treatment. The likelihood of recovery diminishes with time.

List of situations where you do not need an ambulance

  1. Possible dislocation or fracture
  2. Fever
  3. Flu
  4. Rashes
  5. Broken teeth
  6. Cuts, bruises
  7. Long term conditions (cancer, etc.)

Reasons why ambulance is not needed for your medical condition

Generally, ambulances are sent to cases which are most urgent and serious. Thus, even if your situation is non-emergency, an ambulance will still be sent but you will have to wait much longer.

The rule of thumb is that if you do not have an urgent need, then you do not need an ambulance.

Self treatable conditions

If the condition can be self medicated or self treated, consider going to the nearest clinic. Over the counter medication are safe and painless alternatives to queuing up at a hospital.

You can head to outpatient or retail pharmacies. Most shopping malls and neighbouring drug stores are extensively equipped with first aid equipment. Treat the wounds in the comfort of your home.

Free rider problem in use of emergency services

The conditions listed are non-emergency in nature. In economics, the free rider problem applies to people who use public goods (like ambulance services) but underpay or do not pay for them.

Non emergency medical conditions do not warrant for an ambulance to fetch you to the hospital and one should never treat an ambulance like a taxi or Uber. In the same light, should one choose to selfishly free-ride and overuse public resources, then not only does your community suffer but the generations of kids who follow suit will inevitably harm their own legacy as well.

Further, ambulance services are payable and are charged to the caller’s account. Specifically for asian countries like The Philippines, EMS fees apply.

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This post was last modified on December 27, 2020 6:44 pm