Transports long overdueWritten by Autumn Lee | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Over a decade ago, Toledo City Council approved the city’s move into BLS transport. Cities like Philadelphia, Columbus and many others have showed that the move is a worthwhile venture for the citizens as well as the cities.
Fire department personnel respond to all EMS calls in the city. If the 911 call indicates that Advanced Life Support may be necessary a county life squad is simultaneously dispatched. If the run is downgraded by the responding crew, the life squad may be cancelled and private transport initiated. A delay in care is already part of the system. Fire crews are also delayed in leaving the scene and therefore unable to respond to other incidents. This delay could mean life or death for a victim of a structure fire or other serious incident.
When Sylvania had their transport in service, scene times for fire crews were reduced to around seven minutes. That’s service to the citizens, both at the EMS run and the following incident.
If the call is initially deemed a "basic" run, fire crews assess the patient and then contact Lucas County EMS for a private ambulance. If the fire crew finds the incident to be more serious than initially thought, the run is upgraded and a life squad is dispatched.
Most Toledo fire crews have at least one paramedic to aid in assessing the patient’s condition. The idea that one in five basic patients are either poorly assessed or their condition deteriorates to an ALS situation is ludicrous. I have worked on the streets of Toledo for over ten years. I have personally reported private ambulance crews to our EMS bureau for unduly upgrading patients to an ALS status and subsequently skyrocketing their bill. Check the local court records to see which private company was sued for charging well over $1,000 for a ride to the hospital.
I have always had a good working relationship with many private ambulance personnel. Most are hard-working and diligent at what they do. Some are paramedics and some are basic EMTs. The private ambulance service paramedics passed the same rigorous curriculum that I and other municipal employees from Toledo, Sylvania, Maumee, Springfield, Oregon and Whitehouse were required to study. They are on their own, however, to get experience at ALS patient care.
The ALS runs are given to the county life squads. In the event all Life Squads are unavailable, a private ambulance with two paramedics may be dispatched simultaneously in lieu of a life squad. By virtue of the present system, these good people have not been exposed to nearly the amount of ALS experience as those who have had the privilege of serving the citizens on a life squad.
I have only one personal experience of receiving a private crew on a cardiace arrest. With CPR in progress and two paramedics already in the room, the private crew strolled in the front door without any ALS equipment. Seeing the scene they began to fumble with what to do next. After watching them miss establishing a critical airway and chalked it off to difficult anatomical structures in the patient, I grabbed the equipment myself and intubated the patient in about ten seconds.
"People are going to die" at the hands of Toledo Fire at an undue pace? Please, give me break.
Change is always opposed — even good change. I am confident that this concept is best for the city and all it citizens.
TOM PHILLIPS, Firefighter/paramedic, Toledo