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Summon an Ambulance or Speed: The Safest Course of Action in a Medical Emergency

June 29, 2012

The scenario has become so familiar that it almost has become a cliché in movies, television and popular culture. A driver is speeding down the roadway when a patrol car moves in behind, turns on the flashing red lights and/or siren and pulls the motorist over. When the officer approaches the vehicle, he tells the officer that he was rushing to the hospital for a medical emergency.

The officer raises an eyebrow, expresses skepticism, and asks for proof. In this case, the Metro Atlanta man who was pulled over by Roswell police for speeding was actually rushing his cancer stricken wife to the hospital. The traffic stop delayed this concerned husband’s ability to get his wife medical care by 15 minutes until the husband finally asked the officer to call for a paramedic.

The concerned Atlanta husband was transporting his wife to the hospital because she had stage IV breast cancer and was experiencing chest pains. Situations like these are tough to evaluate. While no one wants to see someone in serious physical distress or experiencing a life-threatening medical condition be delayed in obtaining potentially life-saving treatment, police officers are routinely confronted with a laundry list of reasons why drivers are speeding. It is probably safe to assume that this is not the first time this officer was told that a driver was disregarding the speed limit because of a medical emergency. While the incident is under administrative review, the facts reported by the media would seem to indicate that the officer took reasonable steps to confirm the husband's story. He asked the couple to produce some sort of documentation of her medical condition. Admittedly, this is a bit intrusive in terms of forcing one to provide details of a serious illness, but the husband had already volunteered that the condition existed.

While the husband's decision to speed his wife to the hospital is both understandable and probably something that many of us would feel similarly compelled to do. His decision to violate speed limits and personally rush her to the hospital would have been of little use had he been involved in a serious car accident while driving to his destination. Speeding is a leading cause of car accidents, particularly those that result in life-altering injuries and even fatalities. The husband's driving behavior could have put not only his wife but all occupants that might have been involved in a collision at risk.

The safest course in the face of a genuine medical emergency probably would've been to call 911 and request an ambulance immediately. Emergency medical response vehicles are designed for speeding when driving through crowded Atlanta roadways with flashing lights and sirens that help reduce the risk of speed-related accidents. It is not clear why this husband chose not to call an ambulance while at home. He may have simply panicked out of concern for his wife's medical emergency or may have been concerned with the cost of an ambulance ride. While our Atlanta car accident lawyers certainly understand the difficult dilemma that faced this husband, we would urge others faced with a medical emergency of a family member to summon emergency medical response personnel who can more safely transport a loved one to the hospital quickly.

If you or someone you love is involved in a speed-related car accident in Atlanta or anywhere throughout Georgia, the experienced Atlanta car accident lawyers at Montlick and Associates are available to evaluate your case and explain your rights. Our Atlanta car accident lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.