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Ambulance response time questioned

POSTED: October 15, 2012 10:36 a.m.

Liberty Regional Emergency Medical Services drew the ire of a Long County commissioner at the government entity’s Oct. 2 meeting in Ludowici.
District 1 Commissioner David Richardson had few positive things to say about the response to a recent Long County emergency call. The commissioner addressed the matter when LREMS assistant supervisor Gary Morrison delivered Long County’s September report to the commission.  
According to Richardson, an ambulance was requested at a residence on Tommy Hines Road in the county’s Sand Hills community. The call requested help for a person who has a history of heart problems and was having difficulty breathing, the commissioner said. From the time the call came in through the E-911 Center until the ambulance arrived at the patient’s home, approximately one hour passed. Richardson said he has knowledge of what transpired because the patient is his family member, and he went to the patient’s home on the day of the incident.  
Richardson also said the ambulance that arrived at the patient’s home was not the initial unit that had been dispatched to the call, but a second one. The first ambulance got stuck on a dirt road near the residence, he said.
“They didn’t treat it like it was an emergency and they made very little effort, acting like they didn’t care. As far as I am concerned, they were very unprofessional and that is unacceptable,” Richardson said.
Morrison acknowledged that the first ambulance did get stuck, but said a second unit immediately was dispatched from Liberty County to respond to the call. He also said that he could not comment on the details of the call due to legal restrictions, but assured those in attendance that the personnel involved in responding to the incident faced disciplinary action.
Morrison’s EMS report showed that in June, there were 108 total calls with an average response time of 15 minutes, 9 seconds. The overall average response time to emergency calls is 14 minutes, 52 seconds.  Additionally, 75 calls involved transporting patients out of Long County; 37 transports went to Liberty Regional Medical Center, 14 to Wayne Memorial Hospital, 11 to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah and the remaining 13 to other hospitals in the area.
In other business, the commission:
• signed a proclamation from the Long/Liberty Retired Educators Association honoring all educators.
• heard a report by Fire Department Assistant Chief Richard Truman about the department’s four-member dive-and-rescue team. The team will operate at no additional cost to the county.

 

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