ALBANY, GA (WALB) - What do you do if you have heartburn, or get a sore throat? Most people will say you go to the doctor, or go to a convenient care clinic.
But there are too many people who don't, they call 911, and get an ambulance ride to the emergency room.
This is wrong on multiple levels. Ambulances are not taxi cabs. They are very expensive machines, manned by highly trained EMTs and paramedics, who are needed to save the life, and transport, a person who is in a life-threatening situation.
When they are tied up dealing with someone who has a sore throat, they can't be available for someone who may die without prompt medical attention.
"It is going to add three to six minutes to that call," Dougherty County EMS Director Greg Rowe said.
Rowe said that that could be the difference between life and death.
There's also the cost, which many times is not picked up by the person with heartburn. It is paid by the taxpayers, to the tune of hundreds of dollars per run, and that gives the rest of us heartburn.
It's time that people stop abusing the system. One that is designed to save the life of people who are truly in need of going to the hospital by ambulance.
We encourage officials to look into more alternatives to help those with non-emergencies receive medical treatment without tying up first responders.