Ambulance vs. Driving to the Hospital Yourself?

Posted on: Sat, 02/24/2007 - 2:10pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I keep reading several posts saying to always call 911 and DON'T drive yourself to the hospital...what if you live in the country and it would probably take 20 minutes or more for the ambulance to get to your house?
In that case, would it be better to go ahead and drive to the hospital?
If I'm home alone with DS and he has a reaction, I'm NOT sure it would be much fun trying to drive to the hospital with him(12 mo. old) and my 4 year old, but would waiting for an ambulance out here be a wise thing to do?
Any thoughts? Anyone else live out in "tim-buck-two" like me?

Posted on: Sat, 02/24/2007 - 2:45pm
ajgauthier's picture
Joined: 04/13/2005 - 09:00

For one of my teen year reactions, we also lived out in timbuktu.
We were even 15 minutes from a fire station, and the ambulance was out. So, my mom drove me to the fire station and met the ambulance there, which then I got put in the ambulance to the hospital. In the ambulance, they were able to give me this whopping huge iv needle ready for meds once we entered the hospital, saved time.
I'd say...if I live out in the boonies again, and have a reaction, and have someone there with me...I'd call 911 and make arrangements for the ambulance to meet us in the middle. If I had a child who is having the reaction, I'd want 2 to drive and one to watch the child.
_that_ being said...
There are some older discussions on here about proper body posture during an anaphylactic reaction...namely about blood pressure drops. If you are lying down, you need to stay lying down. Sitting up can (and has been shown too) bring a sometimes fatal drop in blood pressure. I've forgotten how the rest of that conversation went (if you are sitting up, stay sitting up? etc...)
So - the whole "get in a car and drive yourself" decision may not even have to be made. If the person having the reaction is lying down, keep them that way til the ambulance arrives, don't try to move them.
Another reason to have a slew of epipens and liquid benadryl ready.
Adrienne [img][/img]
30-something survivor of severe peanut/tree nut allergy

Posted on: Sat, 02/24/2007 - 4:09pm
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

I used to teach CPR for the Red Cross. One of the reasons we gave for NOT driving someone yourself is.....
[b]Can you do CPR while driving? [/b]
This is very valid. Anything can happen to someone experiencing an ingestion reaction to peanuts. I would not take the chance. Call 911.
When I do my food shopping I frequently run into the paramedics for my area doing their own shopping. I do two things. First I pay for a bunch of their groceries. Second I remind them that my son has an anaphylactic allergy to peanuts and I ask them to reassure me that I should be calling 911. They always say "CALL do not hesitate."

Posted on: Sat, 02/24/2007 - 4:11pm
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Well I don't actually live in Timbuktu, I live in LA but if ambulances can get to you, let them know you exist. Introduce yourself to them so (hopefully never) when you DO call them you'll feel like they are old friends.

Posted on: Sat, 02/24/2007 - 4:27pm's picture
Joined: 02/22/2007 - 09:00

We were very lucky ... the paramedics arrived at our home within four minutes from the start of our daughter's reaction. Even though we are in the city, I would not take the chance ... if an ambulance can get to you, call 911. Reactions that seem to settle down could flare up again, and you don't want to be driving if that happens. NP.
It Takes A Village ...

Posted on: Sat, 02/24/2007 - 7:20pm
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Hi there,
We also live out in the middle of nowhere. This issue has been thought out by our family AND the school. One issue here, is that not all ambulances have a paramedic on board, and the paramedic is the only one allowed to administer epinephrine. Therefore when we call 911 we need to specifically ask for "advanced life support". The school does too. Just another thought....

Posted on: Sat, 02/24/2007 - 11:18pm
momll70's picture
Joined: 09/26/2006 - 09:00

We have a hospital just 10 min away but I think about carrying my son (wouldn't be able to) trying to find the right place to park and walk to emergency room and not being able to be with him in the car if I'm driving and alone. I feel it is best to call 911. The paramedics come and when they get to the hospital they go right in and you don't have to try to get someone's attention for immediate help while your holding your child.

Posted on: Sat, 02/24/2007 - 11:27pm
krasota's picture
Joined: 04/24/2000 - 09:00

Call your local EMTs (non-emergency line) and talk to them.
I know that our local EMTs often meet folks who live in the boonies halfway to save time. That said, if you come into the ER in an ambulance, you're generally evaluated *right away* and the truck has already radioed the hospital with your information/status, so they're ready to treat an anaphylactic reaction from the moment the stretcher hits the pavement.

Posted on: Sun, 02/25/2007 - 2:06am
momma2boys's picture
Joined: 03/14/2003 - 09:00

I drove my son to the ER once in respiratory distress. We live about 5 blocks from the hospital. It was a very short trip, but the longest of my life. Never again! Everytime he stopped coughing I was terrified he had stopped breathing. I was trying to figure out if I had to pull over, how was I going to get help? It was like 1 am. But should I still drive if he stopped breathing? I was terrified. Dumbest thing I've ever done, but I figured it would be faster.

Posted on: Sun, 02/25/2007 - 3:03am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by krasota:
[b]Call your local EMTs (non-emergency line) and talk to them.
I know that our local EMTs often meet folks who live in the boonies halfway to save time. That said, if you come into the ER in an ambulance, you're generally evaluated *right away* and the truck has already radioed the hospital with your information/status, so they're ready to treat an anaphylactic reaction from the moment the stretcher hits the pavement.
This is exactly my point. Go visit them, your child's life depends on them. Let them know you are in the area and MIGHT need them. Tell them why and show them what you know.
It also would not hurt to make a big batch of safe cookies once in awhile and bring it over to them and at the same time remind them who you are and why you need them.
I know people laugh at me when I say this but it makes a big difference when I walk thru my food store and the paramedic who is also doing his shopping says "Hey Peggy how are you and your son doing?" A big difference.

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 5:12am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Just wanted to let y'all know I was able to contact my local Ambulance District Headquarters today, found out which station the Ambulance would arrive from, got an estimated arrival time of 8-9 minutes or hopefully faster, and that epinephrine is definitely ALWAYS carried onboard...
and THE BEST news of all is that they're building a new Ambulance Station 2 miles from my house in the 'boonies' to be hopefully completed by the end of this year...
So, I feel much better, at ease and if we can hold off til at least the new station is built before having to use an ambulance, I'll feel EVEN better..
I'm hoping and praying we NEVER have reason to call 911, though!
Thanks for all your posts and advice on my question...I'm learning, slowly but surely, and I know, in time, this all WILL get a little easier!
Thanks again!


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