Health & Wellness

An Ambulance Is Not a Luxury!

Too many people who need one don’t get one

By Wendy Haaf


Despite recommendations that everyone experiencing symptoms of heart attack or stroke should call an ambulance, only half of the 34,000 Canadians admitted to hospital for a heart attack in 2014–15 got there that way, according to a report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

Men (43%) were less likely than women (52%) to arrive by ambulance. In the population aged 18 to 64, only about one-third of heart-attack patients were taken to hospital by ambulance.

By contrast, two-thirds of the more than 75,000 admitted for stroke arrived by ambulance, though the percentage dropped to around 50% among adults under 65.

Remember: it’s not just a matter of getting to the hospital as quickly as possible—when you’re transported via ambulance, emergency personnel can assess and manage your condition, alert the hospital so the staff is prepared when you arrive, and take you to the facility best equipped to treat you.

Photo: iStock/Enrico Fianchini.