Thursday, March 26, 2009

People are insane!

I will never understand why people make some of the choices they do. During my shift we were called for one person who had been in a car accident a few hours earlier and refused medical care/transport at the scene. They went home and decided that they wanted to go to the hospital after all. They didn't have a family member drive them to the hospital, they called 911 to have us, the ambulance drive them to the ER. This person was fully dressed, calm and ambulatory but decided that they wanted an ambulance to drive them "just in case". And this person has no insurance and little money so they won't be paying for any of this.

Ironically, a couple hours later during this same shift another person calls us for shortness of breath. This person had been laid off and lost their insurance/job. So they're obviously concerned about money so they don't call 911 right away or have a family member drive them to the er. No, they decided to wait 3 hours until their breathing is significantly worse then call 911. Since they lost their insurance, this person stopped ALL of their high blood pressure medications and within weeks their blood pressure had increased to the point that their blood was backing up in their heart and lungs because of progressive heart failure.

Once this starts it will continue to worsen without medical intervention. However, this person decides that they don't want us to take them by ambulance to the closet hospital; they want us to transport them past 5 major hospitals to the downtown "free" county hospital. Unfortunately, as a paramedic I can't agree to this because if the worse happens (they stop breathing/heart stops which is very likely) I'm criminally liable for their death. I could lose my license at least and money and possible jail time because I didn't take them to the closet hospital.

This person decides to refuse ems transport and have his family take him instead because he can't afford the hospital bill. I tried several times to explain to this person that they could DIE before they reach this hospital which is 45+ mins away and the other hospital is 10 mins. They still refuse against medical advice and we leave. We can't take anyone against their will unless they are a minor or the are unable to answer basic competency questions or are threatening to harm themselves.

It's still amazing to me that the people who don't need ems and don't plan on paying anyone call us all the time and expect transport regardless while the people who really do need us and may or may not be able to pay don't call or refuse transport. Money is important but jeez! It's your health/life and if the free loaders aren't going to pay and aren't going to be held accountable then the others who have the need and right intentions shouldn't feel bad about using us.

And yet it continues.....

1 comment:

  1. I myself have made some dumb medical decisions but never because of money. I have known people like the first one who just wanted a ride, they always make me so made. They are the same people that want antibiotics for a cold and use the emergency room for check ups. grrr


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