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Old 27th March 2012, 12:30   #1
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Default Car or Ambulance to take someone to the Hospital?

I intend to use this thread to get opinions and experiences of members regarding their usage of ambulances, personal cars to move a family member in an emergency to the hospital.

I understand that this depends upon a lot of factors like distance from home to hospital, time of the day, traffic density on route etc. But then I also understand that the Ambulance will have to find your home, many times in lanes which are nondescript, etc and then move the patient.

Also, it depends upon the ailment and emergency.

Now, the reason I am posting this is twice in the last two years (1st April 2010, 25th May 2012) I have had to move my father to a hospital (I am posting this as I sit in the hospital room with him) due to an emergency.

The first time (1st April 10) I was just leaving from office (3:00 a.m. ) when my sister called saying dad has pain in the chest. I was on a bike which I rode very fast and reached home. Looking at him, I could understand he is suffering an attack.
I quickly put a tablet of "sorbitrate" under his tongue and carried him to the car, in 12 minutes I was at the Ruby hall emergency entrance and he was saved. The total time it took me from my sister calling till reaching hospital was approximately 25-30 minutes.
Now why did I do this?
1 - when sister called was not sure of what is the exact issue.
2 - it happened at a time when there is almost no traffic on roads so was sure could do the distance quickly rather than waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

If my sister would have diagnosed would I have called emergency services, probably Yes. I stay in a society which is pretty well known in the Viman Nagar area (Konark Campus) and it would not have been difficult to find.

The second incident happened two days ago. I was attending classes (weekend). Around 7:15 p.m. (1915hrs) mom called me saying dad is sweating and not responding. Neighbour had come home and said he is sweating. (WRONG). I quickly reached home (7:40 or so). When I checked his pulse it was very low (45-55). I bodily lifted him up and with a neighbour holding him I put him in the car and drove like a maniac to reach hospital which took 15-16 minutes. On the way, I called the hospital emergency number and told them to be ready to receive the patient, also told symptoms. On their part, I have to commend Jehangir staff as when I reached the gate they had cleared the entire route till the emergency door and there 6 people (4 wardboys, 2 doctors) were waiting with 2 stretchers. We moved him quickly to the emergency room and he is Now FINE!. (Touch wood).

Now, the distance I travelled in both cases was almost same (Ruby hall and Jehangir are almost opposite each other on the same road). It took me 4-5 minutes more to reach hospital in the second case due to traffic (and 2 signals). I even got a nice scratch on the car when I scraped a footpath outcropping. However, most people were helpful and when I shouted that there is an emergency patient, they even blocked traffic to allow me passage.

Now, both these scenarios make me think, did I do the right thing? Should I have called an ambulance? What will I do differently if I am faced with the same thing?

I want this to help everyone in decision making under such scenarios, as I know the brain literally shuts down. It is better to be prepared.

One more point - Please remember to have atleast a strip of "Sorbitrate" tablets handy. These are lifesavers esp. when someone is having an attack.

Last edited by torquecurve : 27th March 2012 at 12:34.
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Old 27th March 2012, 15:25   #2
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Default Re: Car or Ambulance to take someone to the hospital?

Quote:
Originally Posted by torquecurve View Post
I am posting this as I sit in the hospital room with him
Firstly, we wish your Dad good health. Hope he's back on his feet real soon.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I've driven a lot of people to the hospital. If it's a critical emergency, then I wouldn't waste time calling & waiting for the Ambulance. I'd just drive the patient in my car.

On the other hand, I'd choose an Ambulance if:

- The Ambulance is close by (luckily, our house is a stone's throw away from Mumbai's best hospital).

- The route entails rush-hour traffic. An Ambulance could be way quicker than a car here.

- A Doctor & support staff / equipment are needed with the patient.

Quote:
Please remember to have atleast a strip of "Sorbitrate" tablets handy. These are lifesavers esp. when someone is having an attack.
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Old 27th March 2012, 15:47   #3
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Default Re: Car or Ambulance to take someone to the Hospital?

Wishing your dad gets well soon, and back home soon.

Everyone in my house needs to know car driving (and swimming), all men and women included. My wife drives, trying to push my mom to learn, my BIL will start his car lessons soon, my brothers wife is also learning. Trust me this helps in emergency, and i know this after loosing my dad last year.

A Heart attack, when it arrives sometimes gives you time and sometimes doesn't, and there is no way to figure out how much time you have. So most of the time calling an ambulance is a bit of a waste of time, as you have to give the address, and they have to locate etc, and most of the times they would be slow to reach and if finally come, will not have sufficient equipment on board to save a life (i guess that was the only reason we call them, still). Lifting the patient and driving to hospital is better especially if you have enough help to lift the patient.

Last edited by mayankjha1806 : 27th March 2012 at 15:57.
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Old 27th March 2012, 15:51   #4
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Default Re: Car or Ambulance to take someone to the Hospital?

Thank you for this thread.

I understand how in that moment, good judgement seems hard to come by.

A very close friend lost her mum last year because emergency services messed up. At 6am, she showed symptoms of an heart attack. The family doctor that my friend called came without any medicines. She just asked them to call for an ambulance. 2 of the Ambulances they called didn't showed up. The 3rd that did, came without a doctor/ventilation system. By the time she was finally taken to the hospital, there was little left that could be done.

Had things been diff. with the extra time she'd got had she been driven down - don't even want to go thinking down that road.

The pros of driving down are that you save time - as Ambulance would first have to come to your place and go back. Time is essentially very critical. However, having an Ambulance might just be a good idea when emergency medical attention is necessary on the way to the hospital.
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Old 27th March 2012, 19:33   #5
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Default Re: Car or Ambulance to take someone to the Hospital?

My best wishes to your dad for good health and high spirits!!

Unless the ailment is of a kind which calls for specialised equipment and care by professionals, I don't see a problem in self-driving the patient to the hospital.
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Old 28th March 2012, 07:11   #6
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Default Re: Car or Ambulance to take someone to the Hospital?

Just wanted to add a few more points.

I have found the Ambulance that are parked at IT parks in Bangalore (I think they respond when you call 1066, or something similar) far better then the others as they are well equipped with basic emergencies to deal with and are instrumental in saving many.

Have had few acquaintances use them especially from office (as they are so close it takes them 5 mins to arrive) and has benefited them. So if you are aware if such an ambulance is close by, calling them is better.
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Old 28th March 2012, 07:37   #7
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Default Re: Car or Ambulance to take someone to the Hospital?

Wishing well for your dad's recovery.

Thanks for starting such a thread.

In case of heart attack or similar where patient can be put in a car and driven to the hospital. It is best not to call an ambulance. The patient needs medical care ASAP.

Ambulance, as some others have pointed out, are a must when either the patient cannot be made to sit - think fractures etc. - and / or when the route is long and equipment on board could be pressed for revival/maintenance.

You have made a very valid point of Ambulance first having to find its way to your home. In such a case it is best to give them the address and also have some one meet them at a prominent landmark near your home so that they can be guided. May be also get mobile number of driver and guide him.

In emergency a clear headed thinking is a must but unfortunately panic clouds our judgement. SO having some one slightly removed from patient take charge is a good idea. Get a friend and ask him to take over.

This could be a agenda in RWA meeting - How the RWA members will react in an emergency.
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Old 28th March 2012, 07:43   #8
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Default Re: Car or Ambulance to take someone to the Hospital?

@Torquecurve, Wishing your dad a speedy recovery.

My thoughts - check for ambulance availability first. If not, drive the patient yourself. If you tell them it is urgent, then they will rush with lights blazing. You can use the few minutes to give first aid if possible, and to prepare your place to make it easier for the ambulance folks to transfer the patient into the ambulance.

But in cases of injury, an ambulance is sometimes far better than taking the patient in a car.

From recent experience, I would not always bet on an Ambulance being available at a hospital. The ambulances could be on patient pick-up / drop trips. That's when it will help to drive yourself. Of course, call the hospital & give them a heads-up.

Why not a second hospital ? Often, treatment would be by the doctor who the patient has been seeing.
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Old 28th March 2012, 07:43   #9
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@torquecurve

Wish your dad a fast recovery.

I have experienced once in my lifetime when the emergency services I dialled for never turned up. One of my neighbour had a massive heart attack and I had dialled the hospital ambulance service as well as a private ambulance (One of those "generously" provided by the local coroporator). None of them responded, nobody picked up the mobile no either. Had to take the elderly gentlemen in my car to the nearest hospital but it was too late. The gentlemen passed away during the transit. I took the hospital ambulance guys to task but got only feeble excuses in return. How I wish if the ambulance with neccesary life saving eqpts was there, a life would have been saved. The hospital I am referring to is the Hiranandani hospital in Hiranandani Estate, Thane.
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Old 28th March 2012, 09:45   #10
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Default Re: Car or Ambulance to take someone to the Hospital?

Sorry to hear about your Dad torquecurve and wishing him a speedy recovery.

You did good. In both the situations described by you, time was of the essence. Waiting for an ambulance would have certainly put him in more danger. I would certainly have done the same thing.

If the problem is serious but not immediately life threatening, e.g. when there are injuries involved, I would probably call and wait for that ambulance.

On a related note I wish India had a 911 equivalent. That would really solve a lot of these problems.
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Old 28th March 2012, 09:53   #11
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Default Re: Car or Ambulance to take someone to the Hospital?

Thanks for this thread which will enable us to do things in a right way instead of get panicked...In such emergencies many people just can't "think" and get panicky.

If its late night, early mornings or afternoons Driving our cars is the best option.
During peak hours Ambulance is the better option because if we are driving we tend to honk continuously and people might not get the reason why we are doing so.
Worst case, some people might block us to "teach us lessons"
Many times I see that an ambulance struggles to move during peak hours...So imagine a normal car's plight

In big cities atleast since there are many hospitals..We should first try to stabilise the patient in a nearest hospital having the required facilities and then shift to a "preferred" hospital
Situation permitting, we should drive down to a big landmark and then shift the patient in the ambulance from there.

Ambulace:
Pros:
  • faster during peak hours
  • can break some signals and rules
Cons:
  • Turning up itself is doubtful...which is unfortunate.
  • Double distance. coming home and going to hospital
Car:
Pros:
  • Faster during lean traffic hours
  • Single way...Distance will be less
Cons:
  • Slower...you may not be able to make way
  • Our driving may not be good and we'll put more lives in danger instead of one
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Old 28th March 2012, 10:05   #12
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Default Re: Car or Ambulance to take someone to the Hospital?

Wish your dad a speedy recovery and a long life.

Anyway, my view is look at which option will get him the quickest medical attention and then proceed accordingly in an emergency. Say for the sake of argument it takes you 30 minutes to get to a hospital but will take the ambulance 20 minutes to get to your house and another 20 minutes from there to the hospital. In this case, provided the ambulance has equipment and medication, you are getting treatment in 20 minutes and not 30 minutes with driving the person to the hospital. Of course if the opposite is the case (20 minutes to drive to the hospital but 30 minutes for the ambulance) then drive the person to the hospital yourself.

If on the other hand it is not an emergency, but the person has fractures or potential injuries that can worsen if not treated properly, get an ambulance for sure.

Another thing is try and have everybody at home learn how to drive. In your case, if your sister or mother knew how to drive, you would have saved the time you took to get home.

Also, another great thing would be to have everybody at home go for a first aid course and to also try and learn the symptoms of major medical emergencies like a heart attack. This can help as you know what to do to help the patient till medical services are available.
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Old 28th March 2012, 18:55   #13
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Default Re: Car or Ambulance to take someone to the Hospital?

Wish your Dad a speedy recovery. Thanks for initiating the thread, this provides useful insight

I agree that the decision needs to based on time, patient condition and ultimately urgency. I also would like to bring another point about the mental stability of the person driving the car.
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Old 28th March 2012, 19:00   #14
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Default Re: Car or Ambulance to take someone to the Hospital?

Thanks guys. Dad is back home today and is doing fine. His sugar had gone low (Hypoglycemia) which led to other complications.

I agree to what most are saying here esp. about having a basic first aid course atleast to respond and everyone knowing to drive.

I spoke to the doctor at Jehangir Hospital EMS and he said that they have weekend classes (FREE) to train people on basics of first aid, what to do in an emergency etc. He also said that most major hospitals have these courses. I asked him if they do classes for a big group on invitation. He replied in the affirmative. I think it will be good for us to do this as a part of our meets sometime.

He also said that sorbitrate and aspirin are the cheapest lifesavers esp. for Heart attacks. Aspirin should NEVER be given if there is bleeding as it will thin the blood.
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