Top 10 Time-Wasting “Emergency” Calls

Yes, I know, I don’t work EMS anymore. However, I still keep up with the field and love to see what’s going on. I loved my job there, and still miss it sooo much. This is my way of keeping myself “in” it. Get over it.

I found this article on this week and found it to be hilarious! …and terribly sad at the same time. I completely sympathize with these folks, though the rest of you may think we’re crazy.

So, now you’re wondering what I’m talking about. Oftentimes, we get called out for “emergencies”. (These “emergencies” are compared to emergencies. See the difference?) Things like a stubbed toe, or a cold, or maybe something else minor that the person has appointment with their primary care physician for in a matter of hours. These calls always make us laugh…and certainly frustrate us.

Well, EMS1 asked people on their Facebook page to share their most frivolous calls that they have ever been on. They pulled out the best and put together a “Top 10” to share. If you aren’t in public safety, or aren’t married to someone in the field, you may not believe these things; however, just image that they’re true. Imagine you getting paged out for an emergency and get there to find out that it’s an “emergency”. How would you feel? Used? Abused? Your services mistreated? And then, imagine you hear a real emergency go out a few blocks away while you’re dealing with this “emergency”. That’s what makes it even more tough. You’re dealing with something that doesn’t need EMS while someone just down the road is waiting for an ambulance to come from 10 miles away…and they really need it.

Okay, enough of the soapbox. Onto the list (these are all direct quotes from people…I will not include their names, but you can find them on

  • “Hemorrhoids! I should have taken the bumpiest street for transporting.” — yes, these can be a problem, but unless you are weak and actively bleeding (not just scant bleeding upon a bowel movement), there’s no need for EMS
  • “Hiccups at 4 a.m. and he had a doctor’s appointment at 8 a.m. for said issue. Needless to say I canceled police, fire and helicopter… no joke. I really canceled them over the radio as I hiccupped myself while laughing! My chief wasn’t amused!” — it’s hard to sleep with hiccups, but this may have been the first chance the crew had to lay down. Just because you can’t sleep doesn’t mean we need to be up with you.
  • “Got called back to the same apartment to change her thermostat… twice.” — I’m sorry, but since when does this fall under the category of things you can call 911 for?
  • “To put a contact back into a dude’s eye. He refused to touch it and wanted a doctor to do it for him. He had LASIK surgery and it was a protective lens.” — we deal with eye emergencies…this is something to see your ophthalmologist about.
  • “Cramp in the big toe… AND we transported!” — cramps stink, plain and simple. Massage it, eat a banana or something. This doesn’t even fall under the category of “go to the doctor”, let alone go to the urgent care or ER…so why would you call an ambulance??
  • “Get on scene and the patient is waiting at the gate with suitcase in hand and needs to go to hospital as he is due for an operation in two days’ time. Glorified taxi!” — they hit the nail on the head. So often we become a taxi…an expensive one, at that.
  • “Got called out once because someone didn’t like the haircut they received at Supercuts. No, unfortunately, I am NOT making this up!” — if you don’t like your service somewhere, talk to the manager and get it fixed, or go somewhere else that offers the same service. EMS can’t fix the problem and the ER doesn’t cut hair. Not sure what you’re thinking you’ll get from this…
  • “Overflowing toilet… came out as “an unknown emergency.” — call a plumber. We can’t help you.
  • “Lights and sirens for a cracked acrylic fingernail.” — sure, it hurts. But you need to go to the salon. Put on your big girl panties and suck it up.
  • “3 a.m. for a can of soup dropped on a big toe from a countertop. When I got there, they were sitting on the couch drinking a beer asking if I thought it was broken. It wasn’t!” — they must have been drinking the beer to dull the pain, right?

How’s that for a list? What would you think if you got called out for some of these things? What would you want to say to your “patient”? Or, here’s the better question, are you one of the people who has called us out for these things? Remember: just because you can’t sleep doesn’t mean you should disturb ours.


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