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Topic # 145379 16-May-2014 14:34
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Hi There!

As the unlucky recipient of Kidney Stones earlier this week which happened at 4am, we were faced with an interesting problem. Who to call to get me to the hospital. I felt fairly sure it was kidney stones (my wife is a GP) and knew even though the pain was excruciating, my life wasn't in peril. I definitely wasn't safe to drive, though and my wife wasn't able to drive me (2 very young children). In the end I called Alert Taxi's (Big shout out for some of the most impressive service I've gotten). Alert got me there faster than an ambulance I think, but it led me to wonder if I would have been ok to call 111.

The plus side of an Ambulance would have been the morphine would have got on board somewhat earlier.


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  Reply # 1046300 16-May-2014 14:38
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I don't see a problem with calling an ambulance for that if you're in alot of pain and no one is able to drive you,

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  Reply # 1046301 16-May-2014 14:38
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it certainly would have been appropriate to call for an Ambulance.




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  Reply # 1046302 16-May-2014 14:39
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I'm sure people call 111 for a lot less than that.

I guess if you have no other choices, call them. I agree with you though - I'd exhaust all other options. I live on Waiheke, so a taxi would be out of the question (couldn't even get one to go anywhere locally at 4am), 111 would be our only option.

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  Reply # 1046306 16-May-2014 14:41
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I've always figured that if it is a borderline case, then call 111 anyway, tell the dispatcher what is going on and they'll decide if an ambulance is necessary



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  Reply # 1046307 16-May-2014 14:43
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I guess my wife and I struggled with the "emergency" part. Upon reflection we should really have called. Having said that, hard to fault Alert, I think they got me from Mt Roskill to Auckland Hospital in about 8 minutes from the pickup.

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  Reply # 1046310 16-May-2014 14:45
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You were lucky you had a fair idea what the problem was... Most don't.
I would've called 111.

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Reply # 1046312 16-May-2014 14:49
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Touch wood I havent had any for around 6 years now but yes called 111 when I got them.   But yes okay to call for that.




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  Reply # 1046314 16-May-2014 14:50
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My partner had Kidney stones last year and resulted in 3 ambulance rides. Sign up as a friend of St John, you pay a yearly fee for unlimited call outs. Kidney stones are apparently the same pain threshold as child birth.

A standard ambulance fee is $80 which is probably close to the price of a taxi although unless the taxi driver is a dealer your not going to get any pain relief from them.

My advice is don't be scared to call for an ambulance if you think you need one. Take care and get well soon.

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  Reply # 1046315 16-May-2014 14:51
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My medical condition has caused me to ring 111 on several occasions, like yourself I have worried that it may not be a true emergency, however both my Doctors and the Ambulance service have said similar, when an event starts you have no idea how it will proceed. Ambulance staff are trained to deal with emergencies and are in contact with Hospitals and can get you there fast, taxis and private cars are not.




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  Reply # 1046331 16-May-2014 15:03
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Thanks for the advice. I have had them twice. The first time I got them, I BEGGED my wife to kill me. When she wouldn't I started to crawl across the floor to a window as we were on the 14th floor at the time. I have a pretty high pain tolerance. 

My sister had 5 kids, and 1 bout of stones, she said she would have 5 kids again before she even though about it. 

Sadly with my high pain tolerance comes a reasonable drug tolerance as well, they had to give me 2.5 times the amount they normally give, to get my pain levels from the 8 I presented with the the 2 I said I would live with.



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  Reply # 1046334 16-May-2014 15:05
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IIRC only Advanced Paramedics can give you morphine and it's some what luck of the draw if you get one of them, I'm sure they would have been able to offer pain relief of some sort all the same. 

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  Reply # 1046335 16-May-2014 15:07
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BTR: A standard ambulance fee is $80 which is probably close to the price of a taxi although unless the taxi driver is a dealer your not going to get any pain relief from them.


Wow that's cheap. Here in Melbourne (If you don't have either private health insurance that covers it or pay an annual subscription) the cost is $1,015.17 if you are urban. If you are rural it's $1,011.41 + $1.19 per Km traveled or $12.25 per minutes waited.




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  Reply # 1046340 16-May-2014 15:16
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Also factor in the taxing cleaning fee of $300 odd if there's potential for it to be a messy trip

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  Reply # 1046357 16-May-2014 15:29
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networkn: Sadly with my high pain tolerance comes a reasonable drug tolerance as well, they had to give me 2.5 times the amount they normally give, to get my pain levels from the 8 I presented with the the 2 I said I would live with.




I can agree with that, on the second trip in the Paramedic ran out of morphine after using 3 full vials for my partner. My partner was also on entonox for the entire journey. 

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  Reply # 1046391 16-May-2014 16:12
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nickb800: I've always figured that if it is a borderline case, then call 111 anyway, tell the dispatcher what is going on and they'll decide if an ambulance is necessary


Dispatchers are not at liberty to decide whether to send an ambulance.  If you meet a specific criteria then they can push the call through to Healthline.  There is also the possibility that the case will be viewed by the medic in coms and they do have the ability to decide to cancel jobs (this is a trial program).  I would suggest if you are unsure then to call healthline, they can and do transfer jobs they deem emergencies, and you get the benefit of a clinical registered nurse versus a computer triaging system.

The ambulance service is an interesting area, as more and more it is being called for reasons that are not emergencies and yet I would suggest that the funding levels from DHB's are not reflecting that.

In regards to the tools on board, yes there are limitations as to what levels can give what drugs, but any good paramedic will call for the higher skill level if it is required and it is available.  Ambulance deals with the type of case the OP suffered frequently.  The speed in which an ambulance arrives depends on so many factors, but mainly on how the 111 call system rates your case in terms of threat to life.  Its not a perfect system and tends to over triage calls to reduce risk. 

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