This study investigated medically unnecessary emergency medical services (EMS) transportation by comparing non-intoxicated versus intoxicated patients who did not receive emergency department (ED) treatment but utilized EMS transport.
Patients who used EMS but did not receive ED treatment were classified into non-intoxicated and intoxicated groups. Reasons for not receiving ED treatment were categorized according to whether the decision was made by the patient against medical advice or if the decision was based on a physician’s evaluation and their recommendations.
There were 212 patients reviewed; 120 in the non-intoxicated group and 92 in the intoxicated group. The intoxicated group had a higher proportion of males than the non-intoxicated group. The most common cause of non-disease symptoms in the intoxicated group was assault. In the non-intoxicated group, the most common reason for the lack of ED treatment was that treatment could take place on an outpatient basis, while in the intoxicated group, the reason was lack of patient cooperation.
The intoxicated group was older, male and more likely to present with symptoms not related to a disease process than those in the non-intoxicated group when using unnecessary EMS transport.