Medical Transportation vs. Ambulance: Which Should You Choose?

April 27, 2020 11:13 pm Published by

At some point in their life, a person may need medical attention and lack the ability to drive themselves or have a friend or family member do so. This generally means having to decide between calling an ambulance vs. medical transportation in Tacoma, WA—but which do you require? From understanding the main differences between these medical transport services to outlining the indicators of who to call, here’s what you need to know about both of these transportation options.

An overview of ambulance services and non-medical transportation

First and foremost, the biggest difference between ambulances and non-emergency medical transport is urgency. Dial 911 for help with an emergency, and the dispatcher sends an ambulance and paramedics to you. As for non-emergency medical transport, this is a service that offers medical transportation in non-emergency, non-life-threatening situations. For the majority of non-emergency transportation cases, pickup is planned and scheduled in advance, whereas an ambulance ride is almost always unplanned.

Another main difference is that 911 may send an ambulance or medical helicopter to get to you as fast as possible, depending on your specific emergency situation and location. Non-emergency medical transport services typically require an advance reservation. They don’t rush out to calls like 911—especially since they don’t have sirens on their vehicles.

Signs you need to call an ambulance

While it should be obvious which situations call for an ambulance, not everyone uses 911 appropriately. The key word here is “emergency”—here are the signs that you require emergency ambulance services:

  • It’s important to call 911 only in a true emergency situation, like a vehicle accident resulting in injury, a stroke or a heart attack—basically, any time your or someone else’s life is in danger or there’s serious bodily harm.
  • An ambulance should be reserved for people with an urgent and immediate need for medical attention. In other words, they must be available for life-threatening situations. If you feel that your life is in danger, call an ambulance.

Signs you require non-emergency medical transport

Let’s take a look at the signs you need to call a non-emergency transportation service like Around the Sound:

  • Your need for medical attention is not immediate. For example, you need to get to a scheduled medical appointment, physical therapy session, dialysis or blood test.
  • Another reason to schedule non-emergency transportation appointments is when you have no other ride options. It could be that a family member or friend can’t take you, or free ride services are not available in your area or at the time you need to go.
  • Emergency ambulances are generally not available to transport long distance, except for in unusual circumstances. To get to a medical facility that’s out of your area for a non-emergency medical appointment, call a non-emergency medical transportation company. They offer both local and long-distance transportation services.
  • Your physical limitation or impairment may require you to use a specialized medical device or vehicle, like a wheelchair or stretcher.

If you need non-emergency medical transportation in Tacoma, WA, look no further than Around the Sound. Call us today for information!

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