When someone is in a dire medical situation, the best thing you can do is usually to call an ambulance and let the EMTs transport them to a hospital. But some medical situations are not as cut and dry. It may not always be obvious whether someone needs medical transportation services, or whether you can just take them to the emergency room or urgent care center yourself. Here are four questions to ask as you decide whether or not to call an ambulance.
How much blood have they lost?
If the person has lost a lot of blood, they make need IV fluids or a blood transfusion ASAP. The EMTs can do this before transporting them or while on the ambulance, which is faster than just seeking care in the emergency room. Keep in mind that a little blood can look like a lot of blood when it's scatted through a room or in a puddle. A person can lose a pint of blood with no huge consequences. This is the amount usually taken in a blood donation. If you think they have lost more than this, call an ambulance. Otherwise, if the blood loss is minimal and you have slowed or stopped the bleeding, it should be safe to take them to the ER.
Is there possible brain or spinal cord trauma?
If someone has fallen and hit their head or snapped their neck, you are best off calling an ambulance. You have to be very careful when moving someone with a possible head or spinal cord injury, or you may make matters worse. EMTs are trained to move such people properly. They can make sure the person is stabilized during their ambulance ride, which you cannot do in your personal vehicle.
Can you get the person in and out of your car safely?
If the person seems to be on the verge of passing out, or if they have a serious leg or back injury that makes it hard for them to walk to the car and climb in, you are better off calling an ambulance. You would not want them to fall in the driveway or pass out in your car, worsening their injuries.
Is the person conscious?
Do not try to transport an unconscious person yourself. You do not know why they are unconscious. They may need medications ASAP to save their life, and EMTs can administer these prior to transporting them. Also, you risk hurting the unconscious person while trying to position them in your car.