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Calling an ambulance for a stranger- WWYD? (update #123)

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#1 deejie

Posted 26 November 2012 - 02:56 PM

I was walking up to the local suburban shopping strip this morning with DS2 in the pram. Around 100m ahead of us was an elderly lady (70s? 80s?) walking by herself in the same direction. She stumbled, fell forwards and didn't get up immediately. I ran up to her, by which time she was sitting awkwardly cradling her right arm. She appeared shocked, her face was scraped and bleeding slightly on one side where she had obviously impacted on the concrete.

After a couple of minutes I established her name, that she was going to the shops, fell forwards, tried to stop herself with her hand, but it gave way and her face hit the ground. Her shoulder felt sore and it hurt when she tried to move her arm. I was pretty sure she broke her collarbone and suggested that I call an ambulance.

She didn't want me to call an ambulance, she was quite insistent that I phone her daughter who lived a few minutes drive away. She didn't have her own mobile, so I found her address book in her handbag and used my mobile to phone her daughter. No answer on her mobile, her home number or her work number. I phoned all three again and left messages, my name, that I was with her Mum who fell over, that I think she has broken a collarbone and wanted to ring an ambulance but she wanted me to phone her first, please phone straight away. I SMSd her mobile with the same. I suggested againto the lady that we should call an ambulance and she was adamant her daughter would ring back. I gave it a couple of minutes, in which she didn't phone back. At this point I persuaded the lady that phoning an ambulance was the best thing to do, so I did. She wasn't overly happy with the situation sad.gif

The paramedics obviously took her to hospital. She still couldn't move her arm without pain in the front of her shoulder. About 5minutes after the ambulance left, the daughter phoned my mobile. I explained I ended up phoning for the ambulance. The daughter was very unhappy with me. Her Mum doesn't have any form of private health cover, or ambulance cover and she said last time years ago they had to phone an ambulance for Mum, SHE got stuck with a bill for thousands. She threatened to send me the ambulance bill, said I had done the wrong thing, I should have waited for her to call, that she would have driven her to hospital herself. I ended up getting jack of this, DS2 was screaming in the background and I just hung up on her (not my finest moment). She phoned back and I ignored it.

What would you have done, EB? On foot, in public, no means of transport. Sure, I could have waited. Sure I could have knocked on the door of a house on the street, but what was I meant to do? Ask THEM to drive her to hospital? I still thinking ringing the ambulance was the best course of action.

This woman has tried to ring me back a couple of times this afternoon. So far, I have ignored her. I'm not sure if I am game enough yet to cop another tirade sad.gif

Edited by deejie, 26 November 2012 - 06:36 PM.

#2 Acidulous Osprey

Posted 26 November 2012 - 02:59 PM

I would have called the ambulance.
That's a really bizarro response from planet bizarro if you ask me.

#3 Starrydawn

Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:00 PM

You did the right thing. Perhaps the daughter if she doesn't want ambulance bills can arrange ambulance cover as single cover is not too expensive.

The hide of some people. I am hoping she is ringing to apologise.

#4 Anyway...

Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:00 PM

I would have done exactly what you did! If they have already been burnt by not having cover before that is their own problem not yours!

I would answer if she calls again and tell her if she keeps harassing you that you will call the police.

#5 casime

Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:01 PM

Of course you did the right thing.  

I'm not sure what state you live in, but if it's QLD, then everyone is covered for ambulance transport as its paid through the electricity system.   I'm pretty sure that in most states if you're a pensioner (which she probably is if she is in her 70s or 80s) you are also covered.   Aside from that, it's a vital thing to have, so she should have learnt her lesson when she copped a bill last time!

Don't worry yourself about it.   If she keeps ringing, then tell her to go worry about her mother and stop bothering you.  


Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:01 PM

I wouldn't have called an ambulance, not unless I thought the woman's life was in danger.
If I had a car, I would have driven the woman to the hospital. If I didn't have any transport I would have either 1) waited for the daughter to call or 2) called a taxi and taken the woman to the hospital that way.

I don't think you did the wrong thing, though.

Edited by RunawayPrincess, 26 November 2012 - 03:02 PM.

#7 Waratah

Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:02 PM

You did the right thing.   You tried your best to contact the daughter I think you should be commended.  

#8 melaine

Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:02 PM

If the daughter (or the lady herself) did not organise ambulance cover after the last trip then that is their problem.

I would have done exactly as you did. You did the right thing.

I wouldn't answer today. If she calls back tomorrow I'd answer if it was convenient and explain. If she was rude or didn't listen I'd hang up and ignore her calls from then on.

#9 Luvmy4

Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:02 PM

You did exactly what I would have done.

The elderly lady consented to you calling an ambulance, she consented to getting in the ambulance.

In no way would you be responsible for the bill.

I would either ignore the phone calls, send her a text saying you did what her Mother consented you to do so stop calling or contact your phone provider & ask about blocking her number

It sucks when you get blasted for doing the right thing

#10 Baggy

Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:02 PM

I would have done exactly the same as you. You tried to contact the daughter multiple times - no answer. The next step was to phone an ambulance.

Can you block her number from calling you? She sounds like a PITA.

#11 charlie23

Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:02 PM

I would have rung an amblance. Sorry that by doing the right thing you were abused by the ladies daughter sad.gif

#12 EssentialBludger

Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:03 PM

I would have called an ambulance too.

I also think an elderly lady should have ambulance cover! It's about $50 per year. I'd pay it for my mum if she couldn't afford it!

#13 glasnost

Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:03 PM

you did the right thing OP.

#14 Futureself

Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:03 PM

You did the right thing, exactly what I would have done. You tried to get hold of the daughter and then had to make a judgment call. Good for you for involving yourself and making a decision. Perhaps teh daughter is trying to get hold of you to apologise or let you know how her Mum went? Benefit of the doubt...or maybe not. Abusing you is unacceptable, she should be ashamed.

This is why I am glad that Qld has the system it has, where everyone is covered automatically for ambulance. $ should never be the deciding factor as to whether to seek medical help, that's an awful situation to be in.

#15 rabbit hyde

Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:04 PM

I would have done the exact same thing,  also chances are if the woman is in her 70's or 80's she should have some form of pension card.

But regardless I'd hope someone would do the same thing as you if it were my mother or grandmother, and I'd be thinking about her health first before the cost.

Ignore the phone calls. You've done your part and don't owe any further explanation.

#16 leratocharlie

Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:04 PM

I would have done the same. What other option did you have really? Leave her there... Then I'm sure her daughter would have been even more angry if it turned out she had serious injuries and no one helped her!
I might be wrong - I'm used to the UK system - but can't a person choose to not go with an ambulance even once it's turned up? Thereby not footing the bill. As I asked this question of my colleagues a while back, what if you don't have cover and someone else calls an ambulance. They all seemed to think you could elect not to go with them, and not be charged...
Either way, I think you did the right thing, and I'd appreciate someone like you being around to help my mum in a similar situation, regardless of cost. You weren't to know their financial situation, and you did try the daughter first.

#17 boatiebabe

Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:05 PM

You did the right thing. I would have done the same.

Not sure about the repeated calling (her to you). I would accept one of the calls but if it turns bad tell her you had her mum's best interests in mind and to either leave you alone or you'll call the police.

#18 oomps

Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:06 PM

I believe I would have done exactly as you did. Who knows how long it might have taken the daughter to call back. Or even get there once she had called back. And you couldn't exactly leave her there on her own. If her mother is elderly and has required an ambulance before, perhaps they should ensure she has cover. They should be grateful to you for helping her, not hassling you about it.

#19 Tesseract

Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:06 PM

I would have done exactly the same thing as you. She could have had a concussion, anything really, and being elderly...

The woman's daughter sounds awful sad.gif

Also I thought people on health care cards don't get huge ambulance bills. And nobody is liable for another person's debt in this country, the daughter would not HAVE TO have paid anything. And nobody is going to lock up an old lady for an ambulance bill.

You did the right thing.

#20 melaine

Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:06 PM

If you are in Victoria then it's about $38 for ambulance cover. If they have chosen not to pay that then it's their problem. (If she has a healthcare or pension card then she's covered anyway without a membership!).

#21 Glowworm80

Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:07 PM

I would have done the same as you. The lady is obviously frail, and clearly it's not the first time she has fallen. Perhaps her daughter should have thought of getting her ambulance cover.

That said maybe she realizes she was being an ass and is phoning to apologise.

#22 whydoibother

Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:07 PM

QUOTE (rabbit hyde @ 26/11/2012, 01:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I would have done the exact same thing,  also chances are if the woman is in her 70's or 80's she should have some form of pension card.

But regardless I'd hope someone would do the same thing as you if it were my mother or grandmother, and I'd be thinking about her health first before the cost.

Ignore the phone calls. You've done your part and don't owe any further explanation.


#23 TopsyTurvy

Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:09 PM

I figured the reason she refused would be due to no ambulance cover.

I think you did the right thing 100%

I know that with my DS hanging around waiting for a call from her daughter or driving her to the hospital myself would be very impractical.  If I was by myself and had nothing pressing then I possibly would have thought about it and then dismissed the idea simply because of possible legal ramifications if you were to drive her and that somehow caused further injury.

She could have refused original.gif

If the daughter persists in ringing, I would send a text asking her to cease and desist contacting you, otherwise you will go to the cops and lodge a harrasment complaint.

#24 casime

Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:09 PM

If I had a car, I would have driven the woman to the hospital. If I didn't have any transport I would have either 1) waited for the daughter to call or 2) called a taxi and taken the woman to the hospital that way.

There is no way I would have done that.  What if she went in to some sort of shock or had a heart attack on the way?  You could bet the OP would then be facing a court case for not having called an ambulance in the first place.

#25 GoldenBlack

Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:10 PM

You did the right thing and precisely this is recommended by the St. Johns ambulance course.

By the sounds of things, you also reduced her chance of secondary injuries caused by someone without the correct knowledge moving a victim with a possible bad break.  I know of someone who attempted to move a victim to avoid paying an ambulance fee - and the break was a catastrophic pelvis shattering.  Fortunately the police stopped the idiot before he could do (much) more damage.

It's a shame the daughter's a twit.  It's a shame that if this is the SECOND time that ambulance cover hadn't been already arranged!

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