Learn to recognize the difference between a minor crisis and a life-threatening emergency. For example, upper abdominal pain can be indigestion, ulcers, or an early sign of a heart attack. A toddler who falls in the yard unconscious may have tripped, or he could have been stung by an insect and having an allergic reaction. Not every cut needs stitches, nor does every burn require advanced medical treatment.
Part of handling an emergency is being able to evaluate warning signs and make a fast decision. But it’s always best to err on the side of caution. In an emergency, always call 9-1-1 or the local hospital for assistance.
When should you call an ambulance instead of driving to the emergency department? Ask yourself the following questions:
— Is the victim’s condition life-threatening?
— Could the victim’s condition worsen and become life-threatening on the way to the hospital?
— Could moving the victim need the skills or equipment of paramedics or emergency medical technicians?
— Would distance or traffic conditions cause a delay in getting the victim to the hospital?
— If the answer to any of these questions is yes, or if you are unsure, it’s best to call an ambulance.