Author Topic: Being prepared to deflect criticism about an ambulance ride.  (Read 14573 times)

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snappylt

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Being prepared to deflect criticism about an ambulance ride.
« on: August 29, 2013, 02:36:44 AM »
I am interested in reading suggestions about how to politely deflect unwanted criticism I may face at a family gathering this coming weekend.  (I hope the topic does not even come up - but I'd like to have some responses ready ahead of time, just in case.)

I Do Not Want Medical Advice.

I just want ideas about how to be ready to politely deflect criticism if some of the relatives start in on me.

Background:

Earlier this month, one of our adult relatives was visiting us for a few days. (I'm going to be vague about the details to protect privacy.)

She came to me one morning and told me that five minutes before coming to me she had been stung (bitten) by a venomous critter in our yard.

1.) Her lips and mouth were swelling and numb.
2.) She had swallowed an asthma pill - and she said she could tell that her throat was "feeling numb all the way down" when she swallowed.
3.) She has asthma.
4.) We live about 35 minutes away from the nearest hospital.

She asked me to drive her to the hospital (35 minutes away).

I said something like, "No, the hospital is 35 minutes away.  If your mouth is already swollen, and your throat is already numb, you could easily stop breathing before I could get you to the hospital.  It wouldn't be safe to be in the car. I'm calling 911."

Our relative looked unhappy, but she said, "Oh, well, OK, if you don't want to drive me..."

I immediately walked over to our telephone and dialed 911.

An ambulance came quickly, they loaded our relative inside, and started IV medications on their way.  At the hospital, the E.R. doctor gave her additional IV medications and an asthma treatment, watched her for four hours, and then sent her back to us with additional prescriptions.

End Background

Now, our visiting relative did say "thank you" to me that day and again when she left to go home to her own house. She was very gracious about the whole incident.

But I did overhear her on the telephone that evening, telling her grown daughters that at no time that day did she actually develop serious breathing trouble - she was always able to catch her breath that whole day.

(I kept my mouth closed, but I thought to myself that, yes, she kept on breathing because I called 911 immediately and the paramedics gave her IV medicine in the ambulance.)


By now, enough time has elapsed that I'll bet our relative has received the bill from the ambulance district.  She has not said anything to me about the bill (if it has indeed arrived already) - but I will be seeing her at a family gathering this coming weekend.

It is possible that our relative herself (or, more likely, one particular other member of our extended family) may start criticizing me about the ambulance bill.  They may say that there would have been no ambulance bill at all if only I had taken our relative to the hospital in my own car instead of calling 911.

Or - they may say nothing at all.  (I hope that's what happens.)

If they do start in on me, what would be some polite things I could say that would quickly have them stop criticizing?  I'd like to have some comments ready because I do not want to be criticized about a call that I think likely saved her life.

mrkitty

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Re: Being prepared to deflect criticism about an ambulance ride.
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2013, 02:52:04 AM »
I think it would kind of depend on exactly what they would say, but here's how I would respond to such criticism:

"From the symptoms she was describing to me, it sounded like it was a potential life-threatening emergency. I did what any prudent person would do - called 9-1-1. She could have declined the ambulance ride if she was feeling fine, but I was not comfortable transporting someone in her condition that far without medical aid readily available. But thank you for your interest. Next time that happens, I'll call you for advice before I call 9-1-1, and let you be responsible for what happens."

Ok, don't say that last part; it's snarky and rude (but oh, so satisfying!). I'm serious about that first part, though. I'm sure other posters will have a much better way to phrase it. I tend to be long winded (no pun intended).

OR, you could do what my father used to do whenever someone gave him unsolicited/ridiculous advice, or unwarranted criticism: "Thanks. I'll take that under advisement," without smiling, and then say nothing, just uncomfortable silence. I'm not sure about the etiquette of it, but it sure shut people down in a hurry.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2013, 02:53:50 AM by mrkitty »
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jilly

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Re: Being prepared to deflect criticism about an ambulance ride.
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2013, 03:11:30 AM »
I can see why you want to be prepared as my first though was that it's less expensive than dying.

You could try "I was scared for her life, why wouldn't I call 911?", said in a slightly shocked/confused tone because really in the situation you describe why would you risk not calling 911???
That gives me another idea. "her mouth was swelling, her throat numb, why on earth would I risk not calling 911?" put it back on them.

Gail

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Re: Being prepared to deflect criticism about an ambulance ride.
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2013, 03:28:31 AM »
How long did the ambulance take to get to the hospital? Was it considerably less than a car ride?

The last time I said what I was really thinking there was an "intervention".

mrkitty

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Re: Being prepared to deflect criticism about an ambulance ride.
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2013, 03:31:15 AM »
Not trying to answer for the OP or anything, but even if it's a 35 minute ambulance ride, I'd probably feel better knowing the relative is in the ambulance instead of my car, because at least in an ambulance they have access to more medical equipment/medicine in case her condition worsens - 35 minutes in an ambulance sounds more comfortable and safer than in my car, personally.

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Marbles

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Re: Being prepared to deflect criticism about an ambulance ride.
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2013, 04:45:01 AM »
You could try "I was scared for her life, why wouldn't I call 911?", said in a slightly shocked/confused tone because really in the situation you describe why would you risk not calling 911???
That gives me another idea. "her mouth was swelling, her throat numb, why on earth would I risk not calling 911?" put it back on them.

This is a great way to go if other people are giving you grief. Of course, your last line is pretty good, too, OP. "I'm pretty sure that call saved her life." That's pretty hard to argue with. And, if they are particularly obnoxious, "I would hope you would have done the same."

If it's the relative herself making comments, I'd lean more towards "I'm so glad I called the ambulance. Goodness, you should have seen how you were swelling. I'm so glad they were able to get here soon enough that it ended up being just an inconvenience to you. I could just imagine what might have happened on the ride if I had to drive you so far without medical attention."

.

menley

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Re: Being prepared to deflect criticism about an ambulance ride.
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2013, 06:50:46 AM »
Not trying to answer for the OP or anything, but even if it's a 35 minute ambulance ride, I'd probably feel better knowing the relative is in the ambulance instead of my car, because at least in an ambulance they have access to more medical equipment/medicine in case her condition worsens - 35 minutes in an ambulance sounds more comfortable and safer than in my car, personally.


Yes, the advantage of the ambulance ride for someone who is already having difficulty breathing is that the EMTs can immediately assist with the breathing difficulties as soon as they arrive at the home (which is generally within 5-10 minutes in the US, considerably quicker than 35 minutes). So, if the OP had driven, it would have been AT LEAST 35 minutes before she could receive assistance, whereas with the ambulance it's only 5-10 minutes regardless of how long it takes to get to the hospital.

Iris

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Re: Being prepared to deflect criticism about an ambulance ride.
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2013, 06:57:58 AM »
I can see why you want to be prepared as my first though was that it's less expensive than dying.

You could try "I was scared for her life, why wouldn't I call 911?", said in a slightly shocked/confused tone because really in the situation you describe why would you risk not calling 911???
That gives me another idea. "her mouth was swelling, her throat numb, why on earth would I risk not calling 911?" put it back on them.

This. A swollen mouth and numbness are signs of potential anaphalaxis. Why in heck would anyone not call an ambulance? If someone persists in critisising you I would simply watch them blankly as they wind down and then flatly say "I made what I thought was the right call at the time. I'm so glad relative turned out to be safe. Beandip?"
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LeveeWoman

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Re: Being prepared to deflect criticism about an ambulance ride.
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2013, 07:05:52 AM »
"I figure an amublance ride is cheaper than a hearse."

Zilla

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Re: Being prepared to deflect criticism about an ambulance ride.
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2013, 08:10:35 AM »
I would simply state the facts as you mentioned in your OP, her lips were swollen, the lady herself said she had a numbness in her entire throat.  You have heard of people swelling up to the point where they couldn't breathe and did NOT want that to happen to her on the long 35 minute ride to the hospital.  More protests, "Well of course she didn't have breathing problems, the EMT's were able to alleviate that with the IV treatments they gave her on the way which incidentally if it wasn't serious, they would have NOT treated her in the van.  More protests, "I felt that her safety was paramount and I would do it again.  Can we discuss something else now?"

SPuck

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Re: Being prepared to deflect criticism about an ambulance ride.
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2013, 08:21:13 AM »
How long did the ambulance take to get to the hospital? Was it considerably less than a car ride?

This is a non-issue during an emergency, especially with a breathing problem. Take out the time aspect snappylt wouldn't have the medication on hand to take care of her family member, and even during an emergency cars don't have the inherent right (and generally the proper signals) to speed.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2013, 09:06:27 AM by SPuck »

Oh Joy

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Re: Being prepared to deflect criticism about an ambulance ride.
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2013, 09:11:51 AM »
'I don't have medical training, but the people at 911 do.  That's why we're supposed to call them when we don't know what to do.  They sent the ambulance, and the responders decided what was best for her.'

shhh its me

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Re: Being prepared to deflect criticism about an ambulance ride.
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2013, 09:16:24 AM »
How long did the ambulance take to get to the hospital? Was it considerably less than a car ride?

This is a non-issue during an emergency, especially with a breathing problem. Even if there was a time issue the OP wouldn't have the medication on hand to take care of her family member, and even with someone hurt in her car she doesn't have the right to speed like an ambulance would.

IT's not how long did the ambulance take to get to the hospital since the paramedics can administer  medication.
When the ambulance arrives she is being given  medical care and care care be given in route.  I'm assuming the ambulance arrived quicker then OP could have driven to the hospital. An ambulance can completely disregard traffic laws, if it was going to take OP 35 minutes because if distance  the ambulance can drive much faster if its traffic the ambulance can go through traffic signals , drive on the shoulder , use sirens to move traffic out of the way.   IF OP was driving and relation declined could she pull over to to CPR or to use an epi pen? for example.

"Since relation said her mouth and throat were numb and she is an asthmatic I believed it was a life and death situation and the seconds mattered. I would do exactly the same thing again." 

SCMagnolia

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Re: Being prepared to deflect criticism about an ambulance ride.
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2013, 09:19:01 AM »
Quote
Quote from: mrkitty on Today at 03:31:15 AM
Not trying to answer for the OP or anything, but even if it's a 35 minute ambulance ride, I'd probably feel better knowing the relative is in the ambulance instead of my car, because at least in an ambulance they have access to more medical equipment/medicine in case her condition worsens - 35 minutes in an ambulance sounds more comfortable and safer than in my car, personally.


Yes, the advantage of the ambulance ride for someone who is already having difficulty breathing is that the EMTs can immediately assist with the breathing difficulties as soon as they arrive at the home (which is generally within 5-10 minutes in the US, considerably quicker than 35 minutes). So, if the OP had driven, it would have been AT LEAST 35 minutes before she could receive assistance, whereas with the ambulance it's only 5-10 minutes regardless of how long it takes to get to the hospital.

All this.  And typically, too, if you arrive at the ER by ambulance, you are seen by the doctors LIGHT YEARS sooner than you would by going in a car, having to sit in the waiting room, going through triage, getting sent to a bed, and then waiting for the doctors to come in and assess you.  The assessments are already done in the ambulance and the ER usually has a bed waiting when the ambulance pulls up.  I'm sure in a case of a possible anaphylactic reaction, things would move much quicker in the ER for a patient that arrives by car, but not nearly as fast as for a patient that arrives in an ambulance.

camlan

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Re: Being prepared to deflect criticism about an ambulance ride.
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2013, 09:19:18 AM »
"I was afraid she would die without the ambulance."
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn