2. “Don’t call us for a broken finger. If there’s no real emergency, you’ve just clogged up the system.” —Arthur Hsieh, paramedic, San Francisco
3. “Your emergency isn’t necessarily our emergency. In my region, we send an ambulance for all calls, but we don’t use the sirens unless it’s Code 1, which means someone’s bleeding or having chest pain or shortness of breath—basically things you could die from in the next five minutes.” —Connie Meyer, RN, paramedic, Olathe, Kansas
4. “Don’t hang up after you tell us what’s wrong. The operator may be trained to give you instructions in CPR and other medical procedures that could be lifesaving.” —Dennis Rowe, paramedic
AN AMBULANCE ISN’T A FANCY TAXI 5. “In a true emergency, we’re not going to drive 30 miles to the hospital that takes your insurance when there’s a good one two miles away. But if there are many ERs near you, know which one you prefer because we might ask. Find out where your doctor practices, where the nearest trauma center is, and which hospital has the best cardiac center.” —Connie Meyer, RN, paramedic 6. “In most cases, we can’t transport someone who doesn’t want to go. Uncle Eddie may be as sick as a dog, but if he says he doesn’t want to get in an ambulance, we need to respect his wishes.” —Arthur Hsieh, paramedic
7. “If the patient is stable, and 97 percent are, there’s no reason to drive 60 miles an hour on city streets. Have you ever tried to put an IV into someone’s arm in the back of a speeding ambulance?” —Don Lundy, paramedic
YES, WE KNOW YOU’RE WAITING … AND WAITING 8. “We hate it too! But don’t be angry at us. If you’re waiting, there’s one reason: We’re out of beds.” —Jeri Babb, RN, Des Moines, Iowa
9. “The busiest time starts around 6 p.m.; Mondays are the worst. We’re slowest...