Medical Emergency Assistance

1. How can I determine what medical emergency assistance I need?
According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, the following are warning signs of a medical emergency:
•Bleeding that will not stop.
•Breathing problems (difficulty breathing, shortness of breath).
•Chest pain.
•Coughing up or vomiting blood.
•Fainting or loss of consciousness.
•Head or spine injury.
•Severe or persistent vomiting.
•Sudden, severe pain anywhere in the body.
•Swallowing a poisonous substance.
•Upper abdominal pain or pressure.
Source: Recognizing medical emergencies

2. What should I do in case of an accident at the workplace?
If there is an accident at work, it is necessary to immediately seek first aid and notify your employer, who is obliged to draw up a statement about the accident and send it to the Office for the safe operation of insurance and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). If the employer does not do so, you must contact the WSIB by yourself. Do not agree to a deal with your employer if he offers you some money to not contact the WSIB, because the WSIB pays for treatment and reimburses the loss of pay for the period of the restoration of health. If the injury is not covered by Worker's Compensation, you can apply to the court to seek damages related to your injury (loss of wages, the cost of treatment, etc.), but this will require legal assistance. If at first you thought that the injury was not significant, but then you realized that your health become much worse because of the injury, you can apply later, but no later than 6 months.
Source: The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)

3. What is "Health Connect Ontario"?
If you feel bad, but are still not sure whether or not to call an ambulance, you can call Health Connect Ontario at 416-338-0889. You will be asked a few questions and you will get advice on what to do in your situation: to contact your family doctor, visit a walk-in-clinic, or call an ambulance. Health Connect Ontario service is free and you can speak in any of 110 languages. You do not have to report your personal information or even the number of your health card.
Source: Health Connect Ontario

4. Which number should I use to call an ambulance?
In most Canadian cities, you can call an ambulance from any telephone by dialing 911. Emergency calls from any portable or fixed phone and from any phone booth are free. Even if a cellphone is locked for use, you can still make emergency calls. You should answer any questions the operator asks you, such as:
•What happened?
•What is your name, address and telephone number?
•Is the patient unconscious?
•Is the patient breathing?
•Is the patient bleeding?
•Is the patient in severe pain?
Do not hang up until the operator hangs up.

5. Can I talk to the operator in my native language?
If you are not fluent in English, tell the operator what language you want to speak, and wait on the phone until the operator brings an interpreter on the line. 911 phone operators can provide service in 140 languages.

6. How much will I pay for an ambulance?
Depending on the place where you live and the specific circumstances, the cost of calling an ambulance may vary. In Ontario, ambulance services generally cost $45, but if after arriving at the hospital the doctor decides that the patient could have received help without calling the ambulance, the cost can be $240 or more.

7. How much time do I have to spend in the emergency department?
It will depend on your illness, how busy the hospital is at that time and unforeseen circumstances; for example if, there is a multiple vehicle collision nearby, waiting times will be longer. The doctor will examine you and talk to you about your illness or injury. Then, he or she can send you back home, send you for tests and analyses like X-rays, blood tests, etc., or keep you in the hospital for treatment. If, after the examination, the doctor decides to keep you in the hospital, you may have to wait for a bed to become free. Hospital staff are continuously keeping track of the waiting time of patients in the waiting room, and strive to reduce this time. However, the reality is that you need to be prepared for a long wait, perhaps even 4-5 hours.

8. What should I do if I forget my health card at home?
If you do not have a health card, you might be asked to pay for medical services or have a bill sent to your home. When you present your health card later, the money you paid will be reimbursed. The registry person may also ask you to fill out a form giving permission to the Ministry of Health to provide your health card number to the hospital.