Its been a couple of years now since I asked the question of how do you know when you are sick enough to go to the emergency room? This is a similar question and it came to my mind because in this province there is a discussion now about whether to drop the $150+ charge for ambulance services. It seems to change with the government every few years. Covered by Medicare - then a charge - now a proposal to drop the charge. Can we stretch Medicare dollars to cover it? Or does having a charge discourage people from taking advantage?
Apparently when the charge was introduced a few months ago, the number of calls for an ambulance dropped drastically. One argument seems to be that this is because people took the ambulance when they could have called a taxi or gotten a neighbour to drive them. The other argument could be that this is because people who really should be calling an ambulance are not doing so because they can't afford the charge - instead they drive themselves, or get a neighbour or family member to drive them, or they stay at home and hope to get better on their own.
So the question - presuming that you are a responsible person who doesn't want to take the ambulance unless it is necessary or advisable, regardless of whether there is a charge or not or regardless of whether you can afford it, how do you decide to call for an ambulance as opposed to finding some other way to get to the nearest hospital?