When Should You Call 911?

Medical Emergencies That Just Can't Wait for the Family Doctor

Emergency medical technicians assisting patient in ambulance
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Some folks are afraid to call 911 because they are unsure whether their medical condition or complaint rises to the level of an emergency. Calling a physician for advice is a good place to start, but physicians aren't always readily available and many will end up telling patients to call 911 anyway.

There are specific conditions that should not wait for a call back from the family doctor before calling 911.

These medical conditions are time sensitive -- waiting too long could have serious consequences, even death. Additionally, there are protocols in place to ease the transition from the ambulance to the hospital emergency department. A family physician will probably not have the tools necessary to treat life-threatening events in his or her office.

When experiencing one of the following conditions, call 911 immediately:

This is certainly not an exhaustive list. It's important to understand that emergencies are defined by the victim; if you feel you are having a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.

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