When To Call

Below is a list of guidelines for when EST should be called. Please be aware that these are meant to be GUIDELINES only. If you ever feel that your life, or the life of someone else, is in danger, you should never hesitate to call for help at 314-935-5555 (or 5-5555 from a campus phone). Medical emergencies come in a variety of forms, and this page serves to provide an overview only. This page is not meant to deter people from calling, should they feel they need emergency medical assistance.

Call for help immediately if you, or someone you know, notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Chest Pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Severe bleeding - If possible, attempt to control bleeding by elevating the affected area and applying direct pressure to the wound. Do not attempt to cut off bleeding by applying a torniquet 
  • High Fever - Consistently above 103 F.
  • Disorientation
  • Uncontrollable and persistent vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Head injury or other major trauma - Do not attempt to move individual before techs arrive, unless doing so is necessary to avoid further injury
  • General unresponsiveness
  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse (See Below)
Alcohol-related Emergencies

The line between intoxication and alcohol poisoning is a blurry one. Our techs have learned to identify alcohol emergencies through years of training and experience. If you are concerned about an intoxicated friend, it is always safest to call EST rather than letting your friend just "sleep it off."

If you are still in doubt, be alert for the following symptoms, and call immediately if you notice any of them in the intoxicated person.

  • Mental confusion
  • Inability to wake up intoxicated individual
  • Cold or pale skin
  • Very slow or irregular breathing
  • Uncontrollable or persistent vomiting
Whether or not EST is called, the intoxicated individual will need to be monitored for the next couple of hours. The individual should sleep on their side and should not be given an food or drink (including water) until vomiting subsides. Be alert for the above symptoms.
When calling EST, it would greatly help our techs to have a sober individual/friend with the patient on scene. EST techs cannot release an intoxicated patient to themselves or someone else who is intoxicated. If no sober friend is available, ALS is requested. Alternatively, WUPD may drive patient across campus, with a medic or the sober friend if necessary.
Under any circumstances:
  • DO NOT give any food or drink to sober the individual up. Time is the only thing that can help someone sober up. Furthermore, ingestion of food and drink amidst alcohol poisoning will likely worsen nausea and vomiting.
  • DO NOT give an intoxicated person a cold shower. The shock can cause the individual to pass out, or he could fall and injure himself.
  • DO NOT give an intoxicated person anything to induce vomiting.
  • DO NOT leave an intoxicated person unmonitored if they display the above symptoms


Drug-related Emergencies

Abuse of "hard drugs" (everything other than alcohol or marijuana) is considered a medical emergency and requires evaluation by a physician. You should call EST immediately if you suspect someone has been abusing these drugs. This includes abuse of prescription drugs (such as adderall, pain killers, etc) and over-the-counter drugs (such as tylenol, non-prescription sleeping pills, etc).

Use of marijuana should be called in if the user feels he/she is having an unusual reaction to the drug, or if he/she exhibits any of the symptoms described in the "Call for help immediately..." section.

Q: If I or my friend is drunk or intoxicated, will anyone get in trouble for calling EST?
A:  Click here for information regarding the confidentiality of EST calls.


Minor Injuries or General Illness

If you are feeling ill, but do not meet any of the emergent symptoms discussed above, it is most beneficial to contact the physicians and nurses at Student Health Services (hours and other info can be found on their webpage http://shs.wustl.edu/). If SHS is closed and you still wish to see a doctor, you may call EST and we would be happy to evaluate you and organize a ride to one of the nearby hospitals. Alternatively, Student Health Services has an after-hours nurse who would be happy to answer your questions over the phone (314-935-6666).

Before calling EST for a general illness, please keep in mind the following:


  • EST does not carry any over-the-counter medications (with the exception of aspirin for certain cardiac patients)
  • EST cannot prescribe or dispense any prescription medications (with the exception of EpiPen for severe allergic reactions)
  • EST cannot test you for illnesses such as strep, flu, mono, etc.
  • EST does not carry vaccines
  • EST techs will not be able to diagnose your specific illness

We kindly request that you not use EST as a source of medical supplies for minor injuries. Minor injuries include things like small cuts, scrapes, twisted ankles, and anything else you would not typically call an ambulance for. Every call to EST is treated as an emergency, and calling simply for a band-aid is a waste of resources and manpower. EST strongly encourages Washington University students to invest in a small first-aid kit, available at many nearby stores, for such an occasion. Again, if you ever feel that your life is in danger, do not hesitate to call.