Note: This post is related to my previous article on Ambulance Drivers.
Today when I inadvertently overheard my mom talking on the phone saying, “…you should just call the ambulance….”, something about that phrase bothered me or at least got me thinking. Have you ever noticed that whenever someone calls 911 for medical assistance, or tells someone to call 911, they say, “Call the ambulance“. Why not “Call the paramedics”? When we need assistance with criminal offenses, we say “Call the police”, when we want someone to put out the fire that’s burning our house, we say, “There’s a fire! Call 911, get the firefighters.” If I’m correct, we rarely if ever say, “Call the fire truck, call the police car”….that’s just absurd. So why DO we say, “Call the ambulance?” Not that using that phrase is wrong, but I think it does have an affect on people believing paramedics are just “ambulance drivers” or big white and red taxis. I wonder how this phrase came about?
Postscript (October 11, 2009)
Thank you Nick for the comment. You’re right on about how ambulances and “ambulance drivers” came before EMTs or Paramedics. That is probably why the name stuck. Here’s an article I ran into today by Marcus H who writes about paramedics as health care professionals and gives a bit of history of ambulance drivers, EMTs and paramedics: The Real Paramedic.