Calling 911 while in ER won\'t work

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One cannot call 911 while in an ER since the EMTs need an ambulance for other emergency situations in the area. Remember some ambulances are stationed at the ER. So what is the thinking that people have to call 911 when at an ER. The EMTs would come and won't do anything because they are at the ER.

What is your views on this? Some posts said to call 911 while at the ER. It confused me as to why someone would do this? What would happen if you called 911 from the ER? The operator would see your at the hospital and tell you we cannot go to a hospital unless the ER nurse calls for a transport not through 911.

On Jun 21, 2005

The only thing I can think of is that calling 911 would officially document the emergency - they would have to log the call. So if you were in the waiting room and no one was responding, then calling 911 might force them to respond for liability reasons.

But what a nightmare scenario!

On Jun 21, 2005

Do you mean you want to call 911 while you are in the ER being ignored?

That's why I would call 911 initially. They will get you thru the doors of the ER, even if you are in the hall on a stretcher it is better than the waiting room.

We made the mistake of not calling 911 twice and it was tough. Now when ever I see paramedics I ask them their feelings on 911 and peanut allergy and they always say call 911 do not feel silly or like they won't take it seriously. They will.

I hope it works like they said it will.

When we were in the waiting room once I kicked up such a fuss they brought security to me. The same time the doors opened and they took us in. I would have fought anyone they brought to me but honestly getting a kid upset will just make the reaction worse.


On Jul 2, 2005

I dont see where calling 911 while in the ER would do any good. You call 911 usually to get transportation to the hospital in an emergency. You are already there.

The people (doctors, nurses) in the ER are (usually, but no all the time) more trained to handle the emergencies. EMTs are trained to handle "pre-hospital" emergencies, while I think doctors and nurses are trained to handle "hospital" emergencies. EMTs are trained to handle the situation from the scene to the hospital, then the dr takes over, and that's what he's trained in.

Don't get me wrong...I am certainly not knocking either side...There are great doctors/nurses/EMTs, and in certain situations, one may be "better" (better repoire w/patient, etc) in some ways than another.

I spent several years as an EMT and much more time as a "911 dispatcher". I can understand where someone could be in an ER and not getting the treatment they think they deserve and might want to go to another facility and would then want to call 911 for transportation to another facility.

However, if you are already at a hospital, there isnt much a 911 dispatcher can do. Most places wouldnt send another ambulance to pick a pt up from the hospital ER and transport them to another ER just b/c the person isnt getting the attention/treatment they are wanting. If there is truly an emergency or something going on that needs more medical attention, it's up to the pt/parent/legal guardian to make sure that situation is handled...if a pt has worsened since the dr had seen them, it's up to the parent or whoever to make sure the staff or doctor is made aware.

If a person has been transported to the ER by an ambulance, the person's care has to be transferred to someone of equal or higher training (EMT to ER staff), depending on the situation with the patient. Most ERs and doctors arent going to transfer care of someone over to anyone who is less than qualifed to care for the patient. Basically, if a peson needs paramedic level are, they wont be transferred to a basic EMT level unit. If a person has become stable (basic EMT level care), then that person's care could be turned over to a basic EMT.

If the ER staff has rec'd that pt, then they are responsible for their care. If a person leaves that facility own his/her own will prior to the necessary care being given or against the dr's recommedations, they are usually considered to be leaving AMA, against medical advice.

Chances are if someone calls for an ambulance b/c they want to go to another facility, it would probably take 30 mins or more to get to another hospital (considering the time it would take to get the amb there, get pt loaded, paperwork, then travel elsewhere). Within that 30 mins, that person might be the next person to be seen in the ER, or get the care/treatment they were wanting in the first place.

Calling 911 while you are in the hallway at the ER in hopes of getting quicker care wouldnt do much either. I have had this happen and all we did was call the ER and make sure they have the person and are aware of their situation, and tell the ER staff that the person has called 911. I requested that they check on the person. There's not much for a dispatcher to do in that case. The person is already in the ER, where they "wanted" (for lack of better term) to be.

Like I said, I am not knocking or discounting anyone here...not the EMTs, not the doctors, and certainly not anyone who thinks they are not getting the proper medical care in an emergency. I have no problem telling a doctor "You might know _____ (allergies, whatever), but *I* know my child", just trying to shed light on why someone in an ER might not get the desired outcome from calling 911 from the ER.

[This message has been edited by new2PA (edited July 02, 2005).]

On Jul 2, 2005

?? calling 911 while in ER??

On Jul 3, 2005

new2pa - you are very articulate. You explained all of that so well. [img][/img]

On Jul 3, 2005

An overwhelmed hospital can also re-route incomming ambulances when on "[b]by-pass[/b]"............

Difficult to do with [b]walk-ins[/b], [i]wander-ins[/i], *anonymous [i]drop-offs[/i]*, or even ranting, kicking, and screaming incoherents, if at all. [img][/img]

*Personally?* If I *know* I have a true emergency, I prefer to be brought in per ambulance. edit to add: Maybe even if I didn't *know* for sure.

Wondering: If all EMS services route their [i]pre-hospital[/i] care to the closest hospital with the [i]most appropriate care[/i] available or [i]just the closest hospital........[/i]

I mean, the institution I work in gets quite a few helicopters, sometimes several per day.

Side note: Opticons, gotta love 'em.

General Disclaimer: I am not offering advice in any manner or form. Just wondering, and describing my own personal, highly individual, and unique situation. IMMV.

[This message has been edited by MommaBear (edited July 03, 2005).]

On Jul 3, 2005

different things involving the word [b]by-pass[/b] but interesting:


Journal article entitled:

[b]Entry overload, emergency department overcrowding, and ambulance bypass[/b] ~D M Fatovich and R L Hirsch

Department of Emergency Medicine, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Australia

April 2003



from WTTW 11, "Online News Hour" [b]RESTRUCTURING THE ER [/b]

June 7, 2005



(from a Canadian Association site)

[b]Position Statement: Emergency Department Overcrowding[/b]

December 2000 *******************************************


PEDIATRICS Vol. 114 No. 3 September 2004, pp. 878-888 (doi:10.1542/peds.2004-1287)

Policy Statement

[b]Overcrowding Crisis in Our Nation's Emergency Departments: Is Our Safety Net Unraveling?[/b]

Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine

Amercian Academy of Pediatrics



[b]Access Block and Overcrowding in Emergency Departments[/b]

~Australisian College for Emergency Medicine

April 2004




wow. suspected MI patients brought by ambulance straight to cath lab----[b]by-pasing[/b] the ER? who woulda thunk it?? DID I READ RIGHT? [img][/img]



more sadly, death of a young man pre-hospital.



scroll down to "What happens when the ER is swamped?"

(mentioning a Toronto institution)


Anywhooooooooooooooooooo....[i]who woulda thunk[/i]. (?)

General Disclaimer: I am not offering advice in any manner or form. I do not guarantee the accuracy, currentness or content of the links in this post.

On Jul 4, 2005

Hey MB - you picking on us again? [img][/img]


First, the link you provided with information about Joshua Fleuelling. This poor kids death did lead to changes. Very sad that things couldn't be changed first. I still feel his death was all about politics - and both sides of that issue are at fault.


Regarding the link to Scarborough General Hospital and "What happens when the ER is swamped?". Understand that in this city most people live close to more then one hospital. I live close to at least three, and all are approximately the same distance from my home, but in different directions. So - which direction you go is the question. If one hospital is on re-direct or critical care bypass, it is best to know that BEFORE we leave my home. Then we head in a different direction. Joshua's death was caused by the ambulance arriving at a hospital and being turned away, so they had to go to a different hospital. (This is *in a nutshell*, so to speak.)

On Jul 4, 2005


Originally posted by AnnaMarie: Hey MB - you picking on us again? [img][/img]

[i]AnnaMarie, waving hi!!! I realy don't think MommaBear is picking on anyone LOL[/i] [img][/img].


This poor kids death did lead to changes. Very sad that things couldn't be changed first. I still feel his death was all about politics - and both sides of that issue are at fault.

[i]The above realy stands out for me,and it is a shame we have to lose a life before we can make changes [img][/img][/i]


[i]About the topic,Calling 911 while in the ER? If I where in this position,I would take the person else where DYNWIM, maybe not.

Anyway HAPPY 4th OF JULY EVERYONE!!!!![/i]

------------------ Love this site Synthia

Edited to add Thanks for the links MommaBear!

[This message has been edited by synthia (edited July 04, 2005).]

On Jul 4, 2005

Truly the most recommended action is to call 911 and wait for them. They know which ERs are not accepting patients.

We have to assume that calling 911 is the first and safest option for us because the spectre of our child dying in our car while we are stuck in traffic is too real.

The 911 guys have life support and can treat your child/yourself in case things deteriorate during the trip.

You cannot do CPR on a swollen closed off airway while you are driving.

Yes things happen and people die because ERs are closed or whatever but we have to believe that the EMTs will get us to help. The alternative is too dangerous.

Plus the information we are/should be passing on to everyone at this site is to call 911 or however you contact the emercency medical services in your area.


On Jul 4, 2005

Synthia, I don't think she's picking on anyone either. That's why I put [img][/img] . [img][/img]


Originally posted by Peg541: [b]Truly the most recommended action is to call 911 and wait for them. They know which ERs are not accepting patients. [/b]

Unfortunately, that [b]previously[/b] was not the case in Toronto. The ambulance took Joshua to the nearest hospital and didn't know it was on critical care by-pass. Then, they had to take him elsewhere. Walk-ins were accepted, but ambulances turned away. (I do understand that a lot of people that take ambulances are not critical care patients, but this one was.) Shortly after this happened, I called an ambulance for a neighbour. I asked what hospital they were taking her to - so that I could tell her mother where she was. I actually felt the need to explain that I was not trying to be political - I just wanted to tell her mom where she was. They used my phone and called the hospital that they wanted to take her to and verified that ER was open. But now - EMS knows what is open and what isn't.


I completely agree with everything you said Peg. [img][/img] Above, I am explaining a bit of why things happened the way they did - and how they have improved (in this city).

I feel this deserves repetition:


The 911 guys have life support and can treat your child/yourself in case things deteriorate during the trip.

On Jul 4, 2005

Thanks AnnaMarie, I know things happen. They happen all over to the best of people in the best of circumstances. peg

On Jul 4, 2005

I think we need to keep a lot of things in our minds.

Sometimes a person is crossing the road at a green light - and they get hit by a car. But that doesn't mean it would be safer to cross at a red light.