Importance of Living Close to a Hospital

When I was growing up, I remember the day that my friend broke his collarbone and needed to be rushed to the hospital. An ambulance came by and everything turned out okay, but I remember waiting about 20 minutes for the it to arrive. It then would take another 20 minutes to get back to the hospital. After all, I lived in a small suburb and the nearest hospitals were miles away. Overall it probably took 45 minutes from the time of the injury to the admission to the hospital. It was just a broken bone so this was not a big deal, but I realized that no matter what had happened it would take this long. With more serious conditions 45 minutes could mean the difference between life and death.

In general, hospitals are located primarily in cities. Smaller clinics tend to be located in remote rural areas far from cities and these clinics offer some of the emergency services of larger hospitals. There are some populated areas that are an hour or more away from hospitals. When living or visiting these areas it seems to me that the best bet is to hope that nothing goes wrong. Imagine having a heart attack or a stroke and being this far from a hospital; the chances of a successful recovery diminish with each minute.

High quality health care is one of the most important services that one can receive. In the United States, over 15% of GPD is spent on healthcare costs, making it one of the largest expenditures of both the people and the government. One of the best ways to ensure a long and healthy life is to take advantage of these services simply by being located in an area with easy access to major hospitals. While suburbs can sometimes open space, clean air and less crime, I believe that all of these benefits amount to less than the need for fast access to a major hospital.