Always Take the Ambulance

I’m always baffled at the frequency by which people refuse ambulance transportation after a potentially injury-causing event.

You’re not a doctor (most of the time). You don’t know whether you’re injured or not. Even if you are a doctor, often times the shock caused by trauma will give you an adrenaline rush that may disguise an injury. Denial might have something to do with it too.

Also, if you are injured, you don’t know the extent of your injury. Sometimes people ice and elevate what they hope is a strain, only to find out after a week with no improvement that it’s a fracture. Sometimes that fracture can begin to heal on its own. If a fracture begins to heal on its own due to a lack of medical intervention, and it begins healing in an improper position, you may have to have a surgeon re-break the bone before setting it in its proper place. Not only can a re-break be painful, it will delay your ultimate healing, which only makes your misery worse.

If a neutral observer like a police officer calls you an ambulance, from a medical perspective, you should probably take it.

Additionally, you should take the ambulance for legal reasons. When an ambulance arrives on the scene of an injury, a neutral witness, the paramedic, comes to the scene of the injury and documents both its occurrence and the immediate narration of how it occurred. Sure, any eyewitness can do the same, but random strangers are much less likely to cooperate and much less thorough in obtaining all the necessary details. Your tax dollars pay for public servants like paramedics and police officers to investigate injuries and report their findings. Get what you paid for.

Many insurance companies take the position of “deny, delay, don’t pay” when handling claims. If your word, uncorroborated by a police officer, paramedic, or other eyewitness, is the only source as to how an incident happened, expect the defense on your case to argue that you’re fabricating how the incident actually happened. You didn’t tear your ACL because the property hasn’t been up to code since the Eisenhower administration, you tore it when you were playing basketball and created an elaborate story to get a paycheck.

If you find yourself in that situation, wouldn’t it have been nice to have had a paramedic come to the scene and record the date, time, location, and cause of your fall? Don’t open up a weakness in your case just to save a few bucks.

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