Why Call an Ambulance?
Why should you call an ambulance instead of driving to the Emergency Department? It's tempting to pile into your car and rush to the hospital when you or a family member is ill or injured, but you're actually delaying important treatment.
Calling 9-1-1 alerts the emergency medical community that help is needed. When the ambulance arrives, the patient immediately receives an expert evaluation and any treatment can begin. The paramedics will know how to move a patient without causing further injury. And, en route to the hospital they will monitor the victim's condition and be ready to act should it worsen or become life-threatening.
What hospital the patient should be taken to? Depending on the illness or injury, the ambulance crew may choose the hospital for you. For example, a patient with a possible heart attack may be routed to a hospital with a Chest Pain Center where heart experts are waiting to provide care.
The ambulance crew also alerts the hospital about the patient's condition and what they need to be prepared for. This gives the ED time to alert any special staff that may be needed.
When you call 9-1-1, the dispatcher will ask a number of questions. Be prepared to give your name, the address, phone number, location of victim (such as upstairs in the bedroom), and nature of the medical problem. Speak calmly and clearly and answer any questions the dispatcher asks.