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
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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 adults...one 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]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
------------------
30-something survivor of severe peanut/tree nut allergy

Posted on: Sat, 02/24/2007 - 4:09pm
Peg541's picture
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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."
Peggy

Posted on: Sat, 02/24/2007 - 4:11pm
Peg541's picture
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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.
Peg

Posted on: Sat, 02/24/2007 - 4:27pm
NoPeanutsPlease.com's picture
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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.
------------------
[url=http://www.NoPeanutsPlease.com
It]www.NoPeanutsPlease.com
[/url]
It Takes A Village ...

Posted on: Sat, 02/24/2007 - 7:20pm
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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
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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
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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.
ygg

Posted on: Sun, 02/25/2007 - 2:06am
momma2boys's picture
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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
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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.
ygg[/b]
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.
Peggy

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!

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 7:03am
chanda4's picture
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Joined: 12/14/2006 - 09:00

Well, that is good news! Where we live we have 2 hospitals within 5ml of us(that I thought of ahead of time) and a firestation within maybe 1 1/5mls....
I am glad they are building you one closer. But for now, 8-9min's isn't too bad, just keep some extra Epi's on hand, just incase you need to do 2. Good luck
------------------
Chanda(mother of 4)
Sidney-8 (beef and chocolate, grasses, molds, weeds, guinea pig & asthma)
Jake-6 (peanut, all tree nuts, eggs, trees, grasses, weeds, molds, cats, dogs, guinea pig & eczema & asthma)
Carson-3 1/2 (milk, soy, egg, beef and pork, cats, dog, guinea pig and EE)
Savannah-1 (milk and egg)

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 8:16am
BriandBrinasmom's picture
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Joined: 10/20/2006 - 09:00

We've always driven ourselves, but that's with several caveats: my son has always responded well to the epinephrine, we're 10 minutes from the hospital and we've always had two adults in the car.
It would take almost as long for an ambulance to arrive as for us to get to the hospital. Plus, there is the expense to consider.
I'm not saying everyone else should do it - simply that we've done it several times without incident. (Like with so many things in this board, I'm probably in the minority here.)

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 9:26am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Quote:Originally posted by BriandBrinasmom:
[b] Plus, there is the expense to consider.
[/b]
Please tell me that was just a joke. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/eek.gif[/img]

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 10:23am
BriandBrinasmom's picture
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Joined: 10/20/2006 - 09:00

It is a $500 out-of-pocket charge that our insurance won't cover. It was most certainly NOT meant as a joke. We already pay $300 for the emergency room visit.
Go ahead. Tell me what a bad, heartless mother I am for considering cost. But make sure first, before you start throwing stones at glass houses, that you've bought the most expensive car seat, the best car (nothing but a Volvo, right?), top-quality food (no childhood obesity for your darling) and the pathogen-free, one-story house in the very best neighborhood away from traffic patterns and electrical lines. After all, cost is no object when it comes to your child's safety, right?

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 11:20am
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I don't know how to cut and paste the quotes well, but this was stated:
and that epinephrine is definitely ALWAYS carried onboard...
What goes on here (specifically in our "boonies") is that the epinephrine is always on the ambulance, but there is not always a paramedic on board to administer it. I guess there are 2 different types of people who work in ambulances, and the paramedic is the only one ALLOWED to administer this. The school found this out also, when they called to discuss DD and her being at school. Which is why we have to ask for "advanced life support" if we call for them.

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 11:49am
chanda4's picture
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Joined: 12/14/2006 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by BriandBrinasmom:
[b]It is a $500 out-of-pocket charge that our insurance won't cover. It was most certainly NOT meant as a joke. We already pay $300 for the emergency room visit.
Go ahead. Tell me what a bad, heartless mother I am for considering cost. But make sure first, before you start throwing stones at glass houses, that you've bought the most expensive car seat, the best car (nothing but a Volvo, right?), top-quality food (no childhood obesity for your darling) and the pathogen-free, one-story house in the very best neighborhood away from traffic patterns and electrical lines. After all, cost is no object when it comes to your child's safety, right?[/b]
I knew just because you were honest, it would bite you in the butt...sorry. I have to agree, I will opt for driving myself if the situations deems logical. It can be very expensive, yes. I know you would never put your child in harms way, but many, many people opt for driving themselves to the ER(heck my FIL did with a possible heart attack!!). I worked for a company(inner-city) and they would call a cab because insurance *would* cover that....so not always calling an ambulance is done, it is heard of...and I would never disresepct you if that was your decision. WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT PEOPLE....we HAVE to remember some respect here.
Sorry, I just needed to say that.
------------------
Chanda(mother of 4)
Sidney-8 (beef and chocolate, grasses, molds, weeds, guinea pig & asthma)
Jake-6 (peanut, all tree nuts, eggs, trees, grasses, weeds, molds, cats, dogs, guinea pig & eczema & asthma)
Carson-3 1/2 (milk, soy, egg, beef and pork, cats, dog, guinea pig and EE)
Savannah-1 (milk and egg)

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 12:22pm
McCobbre's picture
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Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by AnnaMarie:
[b] Please tell me that was just a joke. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/eek.gif[/img][/b]
But AM, not everyone has the luxury of living in Canada. Medical expenses really add up down here.
And if you're living close to a hospital (as BrianandBrianasmom indicated) and you have a deductible like that and have to choose between that and say, mortgage or groceries or Epi refills for the next time--and you are able to have two adults in the car, I could see making that move.
Personally, it's not in our action plan--calling an ambulance is--for lots of reasons, including triage. But I could see, under those circumstances, how it could be in someone else's. In fact, of necessity, it might need to be in mine in the near future. However, we live 20 minutes from a hospital--and 4 minutes from a fire station with an ambulance that carries Epi.
I do know I can work out a payment plan if I need to, but those are my circumstances.
[This message has been edited by McCobbre (edited February 26, 2007).]

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 10:50pm
BriandBrinasmom's picture
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Joined: 10/20/2006 - 09:00

Honestly, folks, I don't mean to flip out here, but we've spent my son's college education savings on hospitals and ambulances. I don't know how all of you found out your child has an anaphylactic allergy, but we've found it out the hard way - with hospital trips EVERY TIME. He's allergic to milk (1st trip, plus two slip-ups), soy (1 trip), peanut (no trips, but probably should have gone the first time), beans (one) and peas (one).
We spend about $8000 each year for insurance and medical expenses, mostly for hospital trips and asthma/allergy medications for my son and husband.
If my son did not improve dramatically after the Epi, I would call an ambulance. If he does improve after the shot, then money *has* become a factor in the decision.
Why does it seem like I'm the only one on this board who has dealt with multiple reactions? Is this just theoretical for the rest of you? How did *you* figure out your kid was allergic without becoming a stockholder in the local hospital???????

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 11:19pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Quote:Originally posted by BriandBrinasmom:
[b]It is a $500 out-of-pocket charge that our insurance won't cover. [/b]
I never imagined it was [i]that[/i] expensive. Here, if it's emergency the cost is under $50. If deemed non-emergency (for example after taking an ambulance to ER you leave without seeing a doctor) you get the *full* charge which is under $200.
Apparently you and I are living in different worlds. I apologize for offending you.

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 11:24pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Quote:Originally posted by BriandBrinasmom:
[b]Why does it seem like I'm the only one on this board who has dealt with multiple reactions? Is this just theoretical for the rest of you? How did *you* figure out your kid was allergic without becoming a stockholder in the local hospital??????? [/b]
I can answer this for myself. My son's reactions (to insects) have not been anaphylactic. He has localized swelling (e.g. a bite on the ankle swelled his leg up to the hip). Because my reactions have been anaphylactic, I have been told it raises the risk that his will eventually be ana. as well. Also, insects (like peanuts) often cause ana. reactions.
Honestly, if it wasn't for my own reactions in the past, I probably would not have even realized how serious his reactions [i]could[/i] be, and I probably wouldn't have an epi-pen for him.

Posted on: Tue, 02/27/2007 - 1:04am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Well, I have never called an ambulance either... for the same reason.
We HAVE dealt with multiple rxns, and yes, that ride is pretty darned scary. BUT.
We live less than 90 seconds from the ER doors. By car or by foot. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]
Ambulance response times average 5-8 minutes.
You do the math.
The one thing I would do differently is to call 911 next time so that we are triaged appropriately at the ER upon arrival.
We've also had the luxury of having both parents present during those major anaphylactic events. One to drive and one to monitor the child.
Cost really wasn't a factor-- TIME was. The ER's care is better than an ambulance. Why settle?

Posted on: Tue, 02/27/2007 - 1:14am
Carefulmom's picture
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Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

When I had to use the epi on dd at age 2 1/2, I had the best of circumstances for using an epi and driving us instead of calling 911, so I did it. I had a friend with me who was an urgent care nurse. She sat in the back with dd. We had dd undressed, even though it was December, with a blanket over her. My friend sat in back with dd and kept checking her to see if the hives were coming back. I would never do it again. There was no way for me to drive safely after having just given my dd an epi and saving her life. It is a miracle we did not get in a car accident. Next time, 911.

Posted on: Tue, 02/27/2007 - 1:35am
Peg541's picture
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Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Plus parking the car at the hospital. If they wave you away from the emergency parking because there is a kid there with a broken ankle you are doomed. I know most ERs would let you park there but what if they do not?
And then you are a walk-in. You have to register and then wait sitting next to a kid eating a PBJ probably.
We did the walk in thing three times. The first two I hollered our way through the doors, the place was empty and they took us in once they heard ANAPHYLAXIS. The third time? A kid on a stretcher with an ice bag on his ankle got priority. By the time they let my son in I was surrounded by guards because I was going to shout that place down if they did not let us in soon.
To be honest I was not over reacting but my son did not need the excitement of seeing his mother potentially fight off guards. He had enough on his mind and I believe staying calm while those peanuts are coursing thru his veins is helpful.
So our plan is call 911 and be taken in on a stretcher or walking but be escorted by men in uniform who assure you you'll get through those doors. It makes sense. Right here to me. Anywhere else with someone diffrent it is a whole other story.
Peggy

Posted on: Tue, 02/27/2007 - 4:04am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Quote:And then you are a walk-in. You have to register and then wait sitting next to a kid eating a PBJ probably.
This is something else that I think is different in different areas. I have seen patients that went in an ambulance have to wait longer then patients that walked in -- depending on why they are there.
When my husband drove me to hospital when I was in ana. shock (didn't know I was, had never really heard much about it) there was a huge line at triage. I didn't even have the sense to go to a nurse -- I just went to an empty chair in front of an empty desk. A nurse saw me and came over -- I was taken immediately to an examination room and there was a doctor there by the time I got in. They didn't even check my insurance papers.

Posted on: Tue, 02/27/2007 - 7:55am
chanda4's picture
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Joined: 12/14/2006 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by BriandBrinasmom:
[b]Honestly, folks, I don't mean to flip out here, but we've spent my son's college education savings on hospitals and ambulances. I don't know how all of you found out your child has an anaphylactic allergy, but we've found it out the hard way - with hospital trips EVERY TIME. He's allergic to milk (1st trip, plus two slip-ups), soy (1 trip), peanut (no trips, but probably should have gone the first time), beans (one) and peas (one).
We spend about $8000 each year for insurance and medical expenses, mostly for hospital trips and asthma/allergy medications for my son and husband.
If my son did not improve dramatically after the Epi, I would call an ambulance. If he does improve after the shot, then money *has* become a factor in the decision.
Why does it seem like I'm the only one on this board who has dealt with multiple reactions? Is this just theoretical for the rest of you? How did *you* figure out your kid was allergic without becoming a stockholder in the local hospital??????? [/b]
We've had mutiple reactions and I've never taken him to the ER or called 911. Maybe I am luckier then all get-out...maybe I am stupid...I am learning as I go along though. But so far, we've only had to pay for allergy testing and those darn Epipens($120 out of pocket)...anyways, he's had about 6-7 very serious, very scary reactions, but always controled, always responded to Benedryl....I can't say that will happen every time, I am learning there is fine line with these allergies....but like I said I've either been really lucky or really stupid.
------------------
Chanda(mother of 4)
Sidney-8 (beef and chocolate, grasses, molds, weeds, guinea pig & asthma)
Jake-6 (peanut, all tree nuts, eggs, trees, grasses, weeds, molds, cats, dogs, guinea pig & eczema & asthma)
Carson-3 1/2 (milk, soy, egg, beef and pork, cats, dog, guinea pig and EE)
Savannah-1 (milk and egg)

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