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Friday, November 10, 2017

Making Decisions in a Medical Emergency

When in doubt whether chest pain or dizziness is an emergency, it’s easy to become confused about what to do or who to call. It’s important to refrain from self-diagnosing or interpreting a potentially serious symptom by thinking, “I’ll just wait and see what happens.” Driving yourself or someone else to the Medical Center can waste precious treatment time and create a dangerous driving situation.

When to Call 9-1-1

You should call 9-1-1 if you suspect you're having a stroke or heart attack, or if you're having trouble breathing or bleeding profusely. Do not transport yourself or the patient to the Medical Center; it will only take time that can be better used by paramedics to assess and treat the medical emergency.

People often second-guess themselves into thinking their symptoms will pass, and they don’t want to feel foolish if the "emergency" turns out to be indigestion, simple dizziness or another non-emergent diagnosis. Don’t delay, make the 9-1-1 call and let the trained professionals make the determination. It’s far better to be safe now than sorry later.

In the event Public Safety paramedics determine you can go to the Medical Center, they will transport you in a Public Safety car (not an ambulance) or have someone drive you. State law prohibits ambulances from transporting patients anywhere but a hospital.  

Frequently-Asked Questions

Q:  Where does my 9-1-1 phone call go?  
A:  If you're calling from your home phone or the hotel, the call will automatically go to Public Safety. Depending on the carrier, most cell phones will also connect to Public Safety, or they'll go to Marathon and immediately connect you with Ocean Reef Public Safety.

Q: What hospital will I be transported to?
A: This is determined by the nature of the injury or illness. If it’s a trauma case, Ryder Trauma Center or Jackson Memorial offer specialized treatment. In most cases it’s likely that the patient will go either to Homestead Hospital or Baptist Hospital on Kendall Drive in Miami. Mariner’s Hospital may also be a choice if there are traffic delays like an accident on Card Sound. There can be situations where a trauma case meets the guidelines for transport by helicopter from the Ocean Reef Airport to the appropriate hospital.

Q: Will the hospital have my Medical Center records?
A: Yes. Public Safety has electronic access to Medical Center records and will transmit them to the appropriate receiving facility.

The Medical Center has excellent board-certified providers who diagnose and manage non-emergent medical conditions and routine primary care. They are also trained in minor wound suturing and will always facilitate and direct patients to the next higher point of care if it’s warranted.

It’s flu season- don’t let the flu get you!


The Medical Center at Ocean Reef
50 Barracuda Lane
Key Largo, FL  33037

Main Phone: 305-367-2600
Fax Number: 305-367-4573
General email: