When my son had croup and was having difficulty breathing, and we called 911, they got his airway opened with steroids, and then put him on oxygen so his pulse-oxygen, which had been down to something like 79%, was up to 98%. That took about 15 minutes in the ambulance in front of our building, before we left to be transported anywhere (which goes to show why there’s an advantage to calling an ambulance, and not driving there yourself).
When they were ready to leave, there was a choice between two pediatric hospitals, one was a big pediatric hospital downtown that treated children with all sorts of long-term problems, as well as acute illnesses. The other was a pediatric wing in a regular hospital, and not where you’d want to go for your leukemia, but just as adequate for treating something acute, or casting a broken bone, or something like that.
The driver asked us where we wanted to go. DH and I looked at each other. We didn’t really have any idea, although one did seem closer than the other. The EMT asked us what kind of insurance we had, and it turned out that both hospitals took our insurance, so it didn’t matter for that either. So we just chose the closer one-- didn’t have to go through downtown, either. I was riding in the ambulance, and DH was following in the car. Turned out to be really good we had the car-- they kept the boychik overnight, and DH decided to stay wit him, so I went home to get him some stuff, and let the dog out; discovered we’d left dinner on the stove still on low. Didn’t burn, even, but would have if I’d stayed until morning. Probably would have set the fire alarm off, and maintenance would have entered the apartment, and we could have gotten into some trouble.
Anyway, the ambulance here I think is a city utility. There was no charge for it on our bill, which had plenty of charges on it. We were told that you can get into trouble for calling “frivolously,” but if you have a real emergency, you are good.
So, if the ambulance is maintained by the city, then they aren’t bound to take you to any hospital, which is good. There are a lot of people’s insurance that limits them to just one hospital system, and there are, IIRC, 5 in Indy. That’s not 5 hospitals-- 5 systems. Each system has different buildings around the city. The trauma center for one system might be north, and for another might be west. The pediatric center for one is downtown, and for another is north-central. There’s a psychiatric center downtown, and a pretty well-known maternity center downtown. Yet another hospital has a NICU (a famous one), but not a general pediatric center. And they’re all spread out. I don’t know how the ambulance drivers can keep them all straight.