One of the worst things imaginable has just happened: You’ve been shot. Your first thought is to reach for your phone and call 911. Nothing is better than the ambulance, right? Turns out, the next time you’re facing a medical trauma, you might want to consider grabbing an Uber or a taxi.
Why? A recent study by Johns Hopkins University, published in JAMA Surgery, found:
GUNSHOT AND STABBING VICTIMS ARE 62 PERCENT LESS LIKELY TO DIE WHEN TRANSPORTED BY PRIVATE VEHICLES.
The study examined data, collected by the American College of Surgeons’ National Trauma Data Bank, from 103,029 patients with a gunshot or stab wound. It found an overall 2.2 percent mortality rate for patients transported via private vehicle — taxi, ride-sharing program, a friend’s car — compared with 11.6 percent for ground emergency medical services and ambulance.
EMS PROVIDERS ARE REQUIRED TO GIVE PATIENTS IV FLUIDS, BUT FOR STABBING OR GUNSHOT VICTIMS, IT OFTEN WASTES TIME AND COULD INCREASE THEIR RISK OF DYING.
Time and EMS protocol are to blame for the lower survival rate for patients transported by ambulance, says Dr. Elliott Haut, an associate professor of surgery and emergency medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the paper’s senior author. If you’re only six blocks from the hospital when you get shot, and your friend drives, you can be there in minutes, Haut says. But, he adds, if you call 911, valuable treatment time can be lost. The dispatcher also sends the police to ensure it’s safe for the ambulance to come into the area — to make sure, for example, a potential gunman or perpetrator is gone.
Photo Credit: Getty Images