Who should decide if you REALLY need to go to an emergency room - the paramedics or you?
If the Santa Monica Fire department and the Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center have their way, emergency medical technicians could treat you themselves, and choose whether to take you to an emergency room or an urgent-care facility.
It would be a pilot study, because California law would need to be changed. As it is, when the paramedics take a patient to a hospital, they have to wait, what's called wall time, until a bed is available.
But if it's a sprained ankle, or a small cut, perhaps the EMT could decide to take you to the urgent care center.
Who would all paramedics for non emergencies? A LOT of people says Dr Wally Ghurabi, medical director at the Nethercutt Emergency Center at Santa Monica UCLA medical center.
"Paramedics could be better used," he explains.
A small sampling of people walking outside the hospital resulted in very mixed reactions...from "no way, I want the Doctor to decide what I need" to "wouldn't it be great if paramedics could just treat you themselves?"