General Question

augustlan's avatar

If you were driving and one of your passengers experienced a medical emergency, what would you do?

Asked by augustlan (47745points) March 29th, 2009

I saw an event the other day on the highway that made me wonder about this. Assume there is nothing you can do to help this individual. Since you’re already moving at a high rate of speed, would it make sense to continue on to the hospital as quickly as you can, or is it better to pull over, call 911, and wait for the ambulance? Or maybe even continue in the direction of the hospital and wait for the ambulance to catch up with you to make the transfer from your vehicle to theirs.

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13 Answers

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Call while driving to the hospital?

TaoSan's avatar

I’d haul ass, if pulled over I’d ask for escort to either rendezvous point with ambulance or if more practical to the closest ER

Bluefreedom's avatar

If I had an available extra passenger in the vehicle, I would have them assist the one in distress if at all possible. I’m a trained first responder and I would articulate directions to the extra passenger if I had knowledge of something that might help the sick person. Calling 911 and subsequently pulling over and waiting for an ambulance will eat up valuable time that you can be using to expedite the patient to the hospital on your own.

Even continuing onward and trying to make a switch enroute from your car to the ambulance will still eat up valuable time. If you call 911 and talk to an operator about the condition of the patient, I believe that they have reference materials on hand for certain emergencies and they would probably be able to give you limited but possibly helpful medical advice, over the phone, to get you through the ordeal until you reached a hospital.

If, while speeding to the hospital, the police tried to pull me over, I would consider continuing onto the hospital without pulling over because I would have the opportunity to explain to them on arrival about the emergency I had and why I chose not to stop. My decision would also depend on the severity of the medical problem that the victim was experiencing. I would just make sure that my driving wasn’t reckless enroute.

fireside's avatar

The only reason I would stop is if I didn’t know where the hospital was, otherwise call 911 on the way and tell them to have someone waiting at the emergency entrance.

cwilbur's avatar

Do I know where the nearest hospital is? That’s likely to make an enormous difference.

Also, the most important thing is to get the patient into the hands of competent medical personnel—paramedics count. So if it’s likely to take less time for the ambulance to get to me than for me to get to the hospital, I’ll wait for the ambulance, or coordinate meeting them at an off-ramp or something similar.

SuperMouse's avatar

I would probably call 911 to let someone know what is going on, then haul ass to the nearest hospital.

shoty's avatar

I would reach over and open his door up and kick him to the curb yell good luck then pull off!

Darwin's avatar

In our experience calling 911 and pulling over to render aid while waiting for the ambulance is actually a time-saver. If you go straight in to the ER it takes a while for them to figure out why you are there and what you need. If you are on the ambulance, care such as IVs and O2 can already be started, the hospital is alerted to what is going on, and the needed personnel are ready to go when you arrive.

Otherwise they don’t page the doc until after you have already explained to the intake staff what is going on, produced your insurance card and so on. I have seen people with identical difficulties come in both ways. The walk-in ends up sitting and waiting while the ambulance patient goes straight back to treatment.

boffin's avatar

That “Ejection Seat” option is looking pretty good now…

augustlan's avatar

Thanks, everyone. After reading all the responses, I think I’d call 911 while on the move, explain and have them alert the hospital, and race to the hospital on my own (provided I knew where it was.)

fireside's avatar

@augustlan – what was the event you saw on the highway?

casheroo's avatar

I’d definitely call 911, but keep driving…it would depend on the emergency though. I can handle some of them lol

augustlan's avatar

@fireside Nothing more than a single vehicle (minivan) pulled over on the shoulder of the highway with: no damage to the vehicle, a fire/rescue truck angled behind it, an ambulance in front of it, a stretcher next to it, the driver’s door closed and the side door open – with the ass-end of a paramedic hanging out of it.

Traffic had slowed to a crawl as we all headed into the left lane to avoid the truck angled out into the right lane, so I could clearly see that there had been no accident and no fire. This all occurred about 5 – 8 miles from the hospital (in the direction we were all traveling in) so that’s what started the brain churn. I never heard any details of what happened. I hope everything turned out OK for them.

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