Surviving emergency medical situations in rural counties
The cells in your body that make up vital organs can be damaged beyond repair in just four minutes. Rural ambulance services recognize that as a big challenge in parts of our area where people live more than 30 miles from the nearest emergency room.
911 callers in Carlisle County first get help at dispatch. Then, a first response team loads up and heads out with medical equipment on board that can help delay serious medical damage during a long drive. Ambulance Service Director Wayne Floyd said, “We can give them nitroglycerine, we can give them aspirin… and these are drugs that can either halt of slow a cardiac event until we can get them that 35 or 40 miles to that ER.”
There’s also a defibrillator in every ambulance that can send vital information ahead to the emergency room. Floyd said it’s a miracle that’s helped save lives.
Dr. Brian VanderBoegh works in the ER at Lourdes and said people need to recognize early warning signs like slurred speech and muscle weakness sooner to give rural medics a head start to the hospital. “We want you here as quick as possible,” he said, “As the paramedics are coming in we will be ready for that patient. They take top priority. We are talking stroke patients or chest pain patients. We will try to get to them faster.”
They’ve developed a a close working relationship between ambulance services and ER doctors to help grow the distance between you and a disaster.
There are also several Air Evac bases in Carlisle County to allow severe trauma patients to be flown to larger hospitals in a shorter amount of time.