Hopefully, you never have to ride in an ambulance. However, since health and illness are unpredictable, there is a significant chance that at some time in your life, you will need to take a ride in one of these medical vehicles. If and when that time comes, you don't want to be holding onto any misconceptions about ambulance rides. So take a look at these common misconceptions and the truth behind them.
Misconception: The ambulance will always take you to the closest hospital
Some people actually avoid calling the ambulance because they hold this misconception. They don't want to go to the hospital that is closest, so they don't even call. Here's the thing: unless you are unconscious and nobody else is around to advocate for you, the paramedics will give you a say in what hospital you go to. If your insurance is only accepted at certain hospitals, for instance, you can tell the paramedics which hospitals these are, and they'll take you to one of them. Ambulance drivers also take into account the wait at different hospitals before deciding where to head. For instance, if the hospital 5 miles away has a long wait, they'll probably head to the one 15 miles away that has a shorter wait instead.
Misconception: The lights and sirens are always turned on
Ambulances don't always turn the lights and sirens on. If you need to get to the hospital promptly, but not immediately, the ambulance driver will typically leave the lights and sirens off and drive with traffic, stopping at lights and signs as needed. For instance, if you have potentially broken your leg or cut your arm moderately, and you'll be just fine if it takes a half-hour or so to get to the hospital, there's more risk than reward in turning on the lights and rushing. Of course, if you had a life-threatening problem, like a heart attack, you can expect the driver to rush and turn the lights on.
Misconception: You won't get treatment until you get to the hospital
Some people think of ambulances as glorified medical taxis. They think the ambulance will rush them to the hospital where they will seek medical care. However, medical care actually starts the moment the paramedics arrive. They'll start assessing your health and caring for you before you even get in the ambulance, and they'll continue caring for you during the ride. This is the main reason it's better to call an ambulance than to have a friend or family member transport you to the hospital.
Now you know a little more about ambulances and the services they provide. Hopefully, you never have to call one, but if you do, at least you will be informed.