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AIBU?

AIBU to think ambulances aren’t taxis and she could have taken a taxi to the hospital?

113 replies

12FreeRangeEggs · 24/11/2019 09:37

Friend fell over whilst out walking her dog, she was in a country park car park when the accident happened. Good samaritans in the vicinity helped her. Her leg was sore, but not obviously broken. Unable to drive back home, she called her sister to come and collect her.

Sister drove her to sister’s house, gave her tea and cake and they watched an episode of The Crown together before Googling the leg injury and realising Friend’s leg was possibly broken.

They called 999 and asked for an ambulance to take Friend to hospital. They were told the wait was 2.5 hours. They waited an hour, then realised they didn’t want to be in A&E too late at night so Sister drove Friend to A&E.

Leg was broken. Leg was plastered. Friend was home 5 hours later.

All is good BUT i am wondering why they rang for an ambulance. I have lived all over the world, including Switzerland, which offers arguably some of the best health care. Yet i would never have called an ambulance for a broken leg. Even in Switzerland, unless you need a Dr / paramedic on site, for example car crash, unable to breathe, heart problems, or an injured child, you take yourself to hospital.

DH had a motorbike accident in Switzerland and broke his arm. The police dropped him off at the hospital as they were driving back in a similar direction. There was no question of calling an ambulance, DH was conscious and his injuries were not life threatening. But in the UK people treat ambulances like taxis for the sick and injured.

AIBU to think this?

Surely we should change the way we use the NHS in order to save it? Ambulances should not be A&E taxis.

OP posts:
Pilot12 · 24/11/2019 09:41

Ambulances are for emergencies (as in life or death situation). As your friend managed to fit in tea, cake and a TV programme before getting a lift to the hospital it was completely out of order to call an ambulance.

pastyballbag · 24/11/2019 09:42

I think you’re meant to phone an ambulance for a broken leg? I might be wrong

FenellaMaxwell · 24/11/2019 09:44

@pastyballbag you are wrong. You are meant to phone an ambulance for an injury of such severity you are unable to make your own way to hospital. As the person in question had been in her sister’s car for tea and cake, there’s nothing to suggest she couldn’t go to A&E the same way.

changeforprivacy · 24/11/2019 09:44

Some people are entitled. Some people lack the knowledge and genuinely have no awareness.

Tvstar · 24/11/2019 09:45

I recently did a St John's refresher course and they said an ambulance is recommended for a suspected broken leg as it needs to be immobilised and supported

tallulahhulah1 · 24/11/2019 09:46

Sometimes I wish we could invoice people for wasting valuable time from the ambulance service

Jammydodger1981 · 24/11/2019 09:52

Yes Tvstar, I was told the same, she could have done a lot more damage by moving it about as much as she did, she was lucky.

If the control centre didn’t think she needed an ambulance they wouldn’t have offered to send her one, yes she was low down on the priority list as it wasn’t life or death but she was correct in phoning.

12FreeRangeEggs · 24/11/2019 09:54

Surely leg brakes range in severity from visible bones, blood, clearly sitting at wrong angle, unable to move etc etc to looks not quite right, might be broken might not be, can get myself in a car without causing too much pain. (Friend’s situation is clearly the latter.)

OP posts:
changeforprivacy · 24/11/2019 09:55

I recently did a St John's refresher course and they said an ambulance is recommended for a suspected broken leg as it needs to be immobilised and supported

I don't disagree but this person had been in someone's car. Rather than driving home for a cup of tea, perhaps straight to A&E would have been more sensible.


I called an ambulance when DC had a displaced fracture (arm) because there was no way I could ensure it was supported whilst driving 45 mins to A&E. If DH was at home we probably would have driven tbh as one of us could have sat in the back with DC

StatisticallyChallenged · 24/11/2019 09:58

Depends totally on the break. I had a cycling accident, came off and hit the deck hard. Couldn't put any weight whatsoever through my left leg. Right arm was in trouble too.

Turned out I'd broken knee and elbow. Ended up in hospital for a week, then on a zimmer frame/wheelchair for weeks, then crutches. My leg had to be immobilized in a big brace as moving it risked further damage. There is no way in hell I could have got in to a car or cab, or back out.

It sounds like ops friend could have, but the no ambulances for broken bones line is dangerous and stupid.

Trafalger · 24/11/2019 09:59

My toddler broke her leg at nursery. We went and picked her up and drove her to a&e. It wasnt the nicest of journeys and I had to hold her leg still etc.... the only way I would call an ambulance is if it was an open fracture (bone through skin), a suspected femur fracture as they can be extremely nasty and dangerous or there were other injuries that we were unsure about.

Your friend is contributing to the problems with the nhs and ambulances.

AnneLovesGilbert · 24/11/2019 10:03

If they’d waited for an ambulance someone could have died of a heart attack instead of getting the urgent help they needed. This makes me rage. It’s also why the wait for patients taken to a&e by ambulance have such a ridiculous wait to be seen. At Christmas my husband waited an hour with chest pains after 999 insisted he needed an ambulance and the paramedics had some everything they could here and on the way there.

Your friend is an idiot.

Yetanotherwinter · 24/11/2019 10:09

It’s idiots like this who are crippling the nhs and the reason why genuine patients have to wait hours for an ambulance.

tigger1001 · 24/11/2019 10:10

In this case, I would of thought going to a&e in her friends car was the most sensible solution.

However, it's a judge each case on its own merits situation rather than a no ambulance for broken bones blanket rule. Your friend did have alternative transport, and had already used it after the fall. But plenty people wouldn't have an alternative way to hospital. And as others have said, it is often recommended to call an ambulance so injury can be immobilised so further injury isn't done.

welliesarefuntowear · 24/11/2019 10:10

I think the ambulance was probably the right call. If a fracture is displaced en route to the hospital it could have resulted in more damage to the leg. What sort of fracture was it out of interest.

toomanyhobbies · 24/11/2019 10:11

Last Christmas we called an ambulance as my Dm dislocated her hip (that she had just had replaced) only called the ambulance as we couldn’t physically move her. In comparison earlier this year my dp took me to A&e with baterical meningitis at the time I was awake and responsive. On the scale on illness you could say I had the more life threatening condition however I could walk in to A&e.
I think your friend was wrong to have called an ambulance. It didn’t even cross my mind for me.

LaurieFairyCake · 24/11/2019 10:14

Not a lot of sympathy on here Confused or understanding about our responses

The Adrenaline kicks in immediately after, totally normal to go home and watch tv and stagger to a car

But then google, realise you're fucked and the fear then kicks in about doing FURTHER damage on account of not being a medic - so you call for an ambulance

I think she did absolutely the right thing - and that's borne out by the advice to call an ambulance for a broken leg

easyandy101 · 24/11/2019 10:15

Depends if walking on it is gonna mash it up further

I've called an ambulance for someone with a broken leg but it looked like their foot was on backwards. We probably could have carried her to a car but not gonna risk damaging the leg further.

Eyezswideshut · 24/11/2019 10:16

I once called 999 after advice from 111 and said that they are telling me to call an ambulance but I'm sure he doesn't need one although he might need to see someone now rather than GP in the morning. After discussion, she agreed and we called a cab. He did need an antibiotic drip and stayed in for 2 days but I still agree an ambulance would be overkill at that point. I can see why people might not question the certified NHS advice though.

Nat6999 · 24/11/2019 10:18

I had to go to hospital in an ambulance when I broke my ankle, the way I had fallen, nobody could get me up, I was in my touring caravan, it was impossible to get me up, out of the caravan & through the awning without help as I had also hurt my other foot when I fell. I was blue lighted because I was going in to shock.

bullyingadvice2017 · 24/11/2019 10:19

If they managed to get in and out of sisters car, home and out again then no reason for the ambulance, let's hope no one was dying meanwhile
......... My kids dad has been a paramedic 20 years. He says more than half of the jobs they go on are misusing the service. They often have to que hours at a and e to hand patients over. A lot of what is actually social services work they have to cover too.

daisypond · 24/11/2019 10:22

I don’t think it’s black and white. Adrenaline kicks in and masks the severity of symptoms. I wouldn’t judge at all.

Span1elsRock · 24/11/2019 10:23

We live rurally, and are about a 20 minute drive (with no traffic, double that if there is) from our main county hospital. My grandson suffers from croup, and has often needed adrenaline and a nebuliser as his chest recessions are terrifying. We have to call an ambulance so they can administer this quickly and my DD was told to always call 999 rather than take him in on her own in case his airway was totally compromised. Last time they sent out a 1st responder and 2 ambulance crews.

The thought that one day a crew may not be available in time fills me with utter horror. It's a combination of idiocy, thoughtlessness and entitlement that I just don't know how you can start to fight against......

SimonJT · 24/11/2019 10:23

I broke a leg a few years ago playing rugby, I didn’t think I had broken it, I thought it was just going to be bad tissue damage so walked home. A few hours later my partner got home and thought it looked a bit dodgy as my foot was a bit purple. He called 111 for advice as it was a Saturday so no doctors open until Monday. 111 sent an ambulance as it was likely to be a broken leg, paramedics arrived a couple of hours later, they noticed that my foot was cool, as a result I was operated on that night to prevent me losing my foot.

Taking myself to A&E and then waiting in triage would have most likely led to me losing my left foot/ankle. Despite the blood flow being compromised I could walk on my broken leg, it wasn’t particularly painful either.

I also didn’t know but it is advised to call an ambulance for suspected leg breaks, following NHS recommendations isn’t stupid.

Userzzzzz · 24/11/2019 10:29

The Nhs website says this:

If you think you or someone else has broken their leg, go immediately to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department. Call 999 for an ambulance if the injury seems severe or you're not able to get to A&E quickly.

It’s borderline really as her friend could have taken her to A&E and we don’t know severity so I think it’s a bit harsh to say she was taking the piss.

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