The challenges faced by most EDsAdvantages of arriving at ED by an ambulance

Some things might look obvious, but they might not be as easy as they seem. One of the dumb questions that anyone can ask is whether to go directly to an emergency department or call 911 while at home and you suspect that you are in a critical medical emergency such as a heart attack. The conventional wisdom among most people is that they should call an ambulance to drive them to the ED. This way, the paramedics will be doing an electrocardiogram on you en route and possibly alert the emergency department that you will be arriving soon. You will thus be directly transported to wherever you want to go and this significantly speeds up time taken to transport you from your home to the emergency center for treatment.

But while this option might seem attractive, there is always a catch. For my case, for example, the hospital is located just near my home and not more than a quarter mile away. By just jumping in a car, I can reach the emergency department within two minutes. If I can manage to drive myself to the hospital or have a neighbor drive me to the hospital, do I really need to call an ambulance? However, if I arrive at the ED this way, I will have sacrificed the advantages that come with arriving at the hospital by ambulance. Things might not really work to my favor if I just show up at the hospital on my own.

Why being driven to an ED can be a disaster

Even though I have never really gone to an emergency department as a patient, I have accompanied other people and know how it goes down there. And I know too well that even at times that seem less busy line a Tuesday evening with nothing much happening , you will encounter a great deal of sick, sore, disabled and sick people encamped at the EM, all waiting to be attended to. And things can be worse than this on a busy day such as a summer holiday week-end. I once drove my husband at an ED on Fourth of July and victims were flowing in from nearby picnic grounds and parks. The bleeding, sun poisoned and some even burned by the charcoal grills all packed to the ED.

The scene was devastating as kids climbed on plastic seats around and food was being smuggled from fast food joints or picnic coolers into the hospitals. Tempers build up as everyone was made to wait longer and longer with the busy staffers rushing up and down. Just imagine what would happen if I arrived as a heart attack patient in the midst of such a hubbub. No one is going to notice you. A recently published Canadian study pointed that most EDs are extremely overcrowded and certain care processes can even break down and it is up for the parent to opt to arrive by an ambulance escort or own means.