May 24, 2012

Local Heroes to Be Honored During National EMS Week

During National Emergency Medical Services Week, communities across the nation such as Scotland County, recognize the tremendous role that EMS personnel make to insure the health of community members. The 24 hours a day, seven days a week dedication is demonstrated rather clearly in this statistic - more than 36 million patients were cared for by EMS professionals in 2011 alone.

"Emergency care professionals are committed to delivering emergency medical care in the community," said Nicole Lurie of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "They strive for seamless care, from the field to the hospital emergency department or trauma center. Their commitment to ensuring that patients receive the best medical care available, anytime and anywhere, is instrumental to advancing the health, safety, and well-being of the American people."

For the people of this community, EMS service centers around the Scotland County Hospital Ambulance Service.

Where did it start, when did it begin, who served on it? These are some unanswered questions about the early beginnings of what today has become the Scotland County Hospital Ambulance Service. There are stories of hearses, tall station wagon style ambulances, the early van style ambulances, and now the modular style ambulances we currently operate. Scotland County Hospital Director of EMS Operations, Jason Moss states: "I have talked to numerous people and the service goes back to funeral home operated transportation, V.F.W. staffed ambulance, through what it is today." The current Scotland County Ambulance District started forming in 1974 and 1975. "From there the records are organized and documented" stated Moss. "I would love copies of any old pictures and time stamped history events to keep on file and better document our beginning," commented Moss.

Currently Scotland County Hospital Ambulance Service is managed by the Scotland County Hospital and the ambulances are housed there. The Ambulance Board of Directors oversees the funding of the Service and contracts the management through the Hospital. The Service is staffed with a Medical Director, three full-time Paramedics, four part-time Paramedics, three PRN Registered Nurses, three full-time EMT-Basics, and six part-time EMT-Basics. The Service has three fully stocked modular ambulances all capable of ALS (Advanced Life Support) service if needed. Each day there is a minimum of one ALS provider on call. The crew assists in the Emergency Room of the Hospital, while not busy with ambulance responsibilities. The Ambulance Crew, while not in the Hospital has a five minute maximum response time to an emergency when they get paged. The average response time is three minutes.

When a call comes in for the ambulance on the direct line, 465-2131, it is answered in the Emergency Room at the Hospital and after the dispatcher obtains the important information they page the on-call crew to respond. At this time they also page any First Responders in the area of the call to respond also. The First Responders can quickly get to the scene and provide care and needed information and assistance to the Ambulance Crew while they are en-route. The Ambulance Crew assesses the information and determines if all the needed resources are on their way. If the patient condition meets critical criteria, then a helicopter is dispatched. If an ALS provider is needed to provide advanced care and a Basic Life Support (BLS) truck was initially dispatched, then the ALS provider is dispatched to the scene. The ALS provider can start IV's, give medications, perform advanced airway control measures, and diagnose and treat life threatening cardiac rhythms. After the patient is assessed then an appropriate destination Hospital is determined and the patient is transported to the Hospital. En-route the patient care provider stays in the back of the ambulance and provides care for the patient. At the Hospital, a verbal and written report of the patient care, by the Ambulance Crew is provided to the ER staff for continuation of patient care.

What does it take to work on the ambulance and help in an emergency?

To be a First Responder, one must attend a First Responder Training Course of a minimum of 48 hours. Topics include CPR, oxygen administration, advanced first aid, scene management, and extrication. Testing and verification of skills are required at course completion. Continuing education courses are taught monthly at Scotland County Hospital.

To be a paid EMT-Basic on the Ambulance, you must attend an EMT-Basic Course of a minimum of 120 hours. The topics include that of the First Responder just more in-depth. It also covers medical and traumatic injuries and disease process as well as more advanced anatomy and specialized training with splinting equipment. Our EMT-Basics are trained in assisting the ALS providers by setting up the equipment they need for special procedures. Continuing education is required to maintain this license.

To be an ALS Provider, either Paramedic or RN, you must complete two years of college courses. After the coursework for a Paramedic license is complete, you must complete a minimum of 1200 hours of clinical time. As an ALS provider you are trained to perform advanced skills and refined on the performance of the basic skills. Continuing education is required to maintain this license as well.

The Ambulance Service is a service we hope that none of us need, but it is reassuring to know if in the misfortunate event we find ourselves or a loved one in need of the service that it is there to care for us. There are two ambulances staffed every day at Scotland County Hospital and a third unit available if the need arises to have additional resources. The EMS Crew is continually attending specialized training courses to keep up with the ever changing environment of Emergency Medicine. "Since the beginning of EMS, things have changed in the types of emergencies we are called to handle," Moss states. "Society is faster with modern cars that crash up, and the challenges of keeping current on the types of things people ingest into their bodies and the reactions that they cause vary greatly. It is an ever changing Field of Medicine and we try our best to keep on top of the current treatments to ensure we are providing the best patient care possible."

Please take the time to meet the Scotland County Ambulance Crew in this week's paper. If you have any historic information or items, or for any information about upcoming training courses at Scotland County Hospital please contact Jason Moss EMT-Paramedic, Scotland County Hospital Director of EMS Operations at 660-465-8511 or 660-341-1949.

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