Ambulance Transport Policy

Taking care of loved ones during medical emergencies is a responsibility the Oak Brook Fire Department takes very seriously. They are committed to providing excellent patient care to everyone, including transport to the most appropriate hospital, as well as being available for the next patient who may need us. Generally, these emergencies require rapid response to the location of the emergency, assessment, and treatment of the patient or patients, and finally transportation to the most appropriate hospital. Our transport policy often generates many questions regarding which hospital is the most appropriate.There are many times when we are able to take a patient to the hospital of their choice. However, there are many times when we cannot, because it is not in the best interests of the patient or the community.

Deciding on Which Hospital

When an ambulance is summoned in Oak Brook to the scene of a medical emergency or traffic accident, patients that require treatment and transportation are transported to the closest appropriate hospital. In most instances, the closest hospital, by travel time, is the most appropriate.In other cases, with traumatic injury such as a those sustained in a serious car accident, transporting the patient to a Level I Trauma Center where there are more specialized emergency room staff, may be the most appropriate. A stable patient wishing to go to a more distant hospital where their personal physician is on staff and that has all of their medical records may also be appropriate. The location of the emergency incident, the patient's current condition, the directions from the emergency room physician, and the wishes of the patient are all considered when the transport decision is made.

Good Samaritan Hospital Emergency Medical Services System

The Oak Brook Fire Department is part of the Good Samaritan Hospital Emergency Medical Services System (GSEMSS). GSEMSS writes the policies and procedures that our paramedics are required to follow. In accordance with the GSEMSS Hospital Bypass Policy, a patient may be transported to a hospital other than the closest, only if the emergency department physician determines that the medical benefits reasonably expected from the provision of appropriate medical treatment at the more distant hospital, outweigh the increased risks to the patient from transport to the more distant hospital. This determination is based on all of the following:

  • The information provided to the physician by the paramedics in the field.
  • The reasonable risks and benefits to the patient.
  • Whether the more distant hospital has available space and qualified personnel for the treatment of the patient.

All hospitals within the Good Samaritan EMS System are presumed to have available space and qualified personnel unless they notify other hospitals of the contrary.

Primarily Transport Hospital

Currently, the Oak Brook Fire Department primarily transports to Hinsdale Hospital in Hinsdale and Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove. Other hospitals where patients can be transported, if requested and deemed medically appropriate, are:

  • Elmhurst Memorial Hospital in Elmhurst
  • LaGrange Hospital in LaGrange
  • Loyola University Medical Center
  • Edward Hines Veterans Administration Hospital in and near Maywood

 Limit Transportation Distance

Oak Brook Fire Department must limit transport distances due to the extended out-of-service times for hospitals that are further way. If our ambulances travel too far out of our service area, it interferes with our paramedics' ability to respond back to the next emergency. We try to ensure that our ambulances get back in service as soon as possible for the next emergency call that might come in.

Private Ambulance

If the situation allows, and a patient requests transport to a hospital other than one of the five hospitals listed above, a private ambulance can be requested to the scene for the transport.In this situation, Fire Department paramedics will wait on the scene for the private ambulance to arrive to assume responsibility for the patient.