Saturday, December 08, 2007

Interesting England EMS Story

So, last night I picked my sister up from JFK airport. She is home for winter break. She is currently in graduate school on a full scholarship at Oxford in England.

Anyways, she tells me a story on the way home that she was at a party (in England), and a friend slammed his finger in the door, and in the process literally amputated it off. So, he's bleeding profusely, she calls 999 (their 911) while another friend puts the fingertip on ice.
The 999 operator says they'll send an ambulance, and hangs up. A few minutes later, the 999 operator calls back, and says there aren't any ambulances available, that they're all out at life-threatening emergencies and they'll have to figure out how to get to the hospital on their own. My sister informs the dispatcher that she's at a party with drunken college kids, this kid is bleeding a ton, in pain, and doesn't look good. The 999 dispatcher suggests someone drive him to the hospital. My sister again requests an ambulance be sent, and the dispatcher refused, saying there wasn't one ambulance within 45 miles that could take the call (in all of Oxfordshire County, which is pretty populated). She suggested they call a taxi (which where they were from experience would take a while and cost a lot), my sister asks them to send a police car, they say it isn't an emergency or police matter. She also informs the dispatcher that most of the kids are American and aren't familiar with where the proper hospital is, and the dispatcher says again to call a cab. So, finally my sister hangs up and finds one of their sober friends to come over, gets the kid, the finger, and brings him to the ED after having to call directory assistance because the dispatcher refused to provide hospital information.

England has socialist health care. Although I did enjoy "Sicko", this wasn't the scenario portrayed by Michael Moore in his movie.

Intresting story from my sister Danielle, just thought you all would find it interesting as well.