When to call an ambulance? When to call an ambulance?

When to call an ambulance?

Current living 1 October, 2017 Isabel Vallejo


In the case of a serious injury or emergency, this medical service is crucial. The person helping the patient plays a vital role.

Medical Advisor Reynaldo Aguayo Sarria, general Practitioner, Practitioner at Coomeva Private Healthcare

In the case of an accident or unexpected medical condition, it is important to determine if it is necessary to call an ambulance or if the person needs to be transported to a medical facility in a specific way. In order to do this, factor in the signs or symptoms of the patient.

General practitioner Reynaldo Aguayo Sarria explains that an ambulance should be called if someone has deep, serious wounds, acute pain, are unconscious, experience dizziness, diarrhea, severe vomiting or have difficulty moving.

If someone becomes unconscious and cannot wake up -which may be due to a diabetic coma, stroke, overdose or blunt trauma to the head- their situation can complicate quickly.

Similarly, an ambulance should be called if someone has an accident involving multiple traumas such as severe burns, open fractures or deep wounds, as these wounds can become worse upon moving the person. In this case, the person should not stand up and should remain in the same place until the help of a specialist arrives. Paramedics have the knowledge and tools to transport them correctly.

If heart or respiratory problems occur, taking an ambulance is appropriate because the vehicle is equipped with oxygen and staff that is trained to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Other signs this service is necessary include: chest pain combined with nausea, if the person has diabetes, or if they have a history of heart disease; or if they have trouble speaking, difficulty moving one or both times, paralysis in part of the face, intoxication or overdose.

An ambulance is not necessary, however, during the early phases of labor, for toothaches, back pain, ear pain, sprains, cephalea (headaches), shallow cuts, skin rashes or sexually transmitted diseases.

The role of the person who is helping

While the ambulance arrives, explains Reynaldo Aguayo, the person that is helping the patient should keep them calm, have them lay down, make sure they are in a place to get plenty of air, and loosen their clothes.

This person should also be aware of the patient’s progress, track their vital signs (if they know how to take them) and make a list or pack a bag of medications that the patient takes so that the medical staff can have this information on hand when it is time to intervene.

If another person is around, it can help to have them clear a pathway by moving furniture and objects and temporarily locking any pets out to make it easy and quick for medical staff to enter and exit. Another responsibility they can have is to wait for the ambulance to arrive to show them exactly where the patient is, speeding up their transport.

In order to know when to ask for an ambulance, it is crucial to determine whether the life or integrity of the patient is an imminent risk; if this decision is not made quickly, however, it may become one.

Helpful information:

  • When you call for an ambulance it is important to provide the following information:
  • Your full name and the full name of the patient.
  • As much of a detailed description as possible of the address.
  • Explain what happened and list the symptoms and signs the patient is experiencing, as well as how long they have lasted.
  • Provide a description of where the patient is in case special equipment is needed to remove the them from the site. For example, the patient may be on the second floor that can only accessed through a spiral staircase.
  • Provide your phone number in case they need to communicate with you or give you additional instruction.