County Board Changes EMT Protocol
The county board of commissioners has changed the way first responders react following an incident in the Seven Lakes West community.
Resident Max Foley recently informed board members that one morning in July his wife woke to a condition known as AFIB, in which the heart goes out of rhythm. Foley called 911, and after a delay an EMT from West End arrived in a pickup.
"Why wasn’t the ambulance from West End dispatched?" Foley asked in an address to the board during Tuesday night 's regular meeting. "With heart problems, time is of the essence. I have since found out that the ambulance dispatch priority for our area is West End, Pinehurst, Aberdeen, the Airport, Vass, and then Carthage."
Although the ambulance from Pinehurst was summoned, the responders were stopped by a locked gate and had to circle six miles to enter the gated community before help could be administered.
While Foley said he had "nothing bad to say" about the responders, it took one and one half hours from the time he made the 911 call for his wife to reach the hospital in Pinehurst.
"That's too long," he said. "Things worked out all right, but it might've been different."
After deliberating the issue, commissioners' chairman Larry Caddell asked Emergency Manager/Deputy Director Scot Brooks how soon a dual call system could be enacted. This arrangement would send a Seven Lakes or a West End ambulance to a call when the other is engaged, thus eliminating the need to wait for a Pinehurst ambulance to arrive.
Brooks said such an arrangement could be put into place as early as the next morning. The motion to authorize responders to alter their protocol was passed unanimously by the board. The decision was greeted by applause from the audience, many of whom were Seven Lakes West residents.
Read more in Friday's edition of the Pilot.
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