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Late rescuers turned away by 2 hospitals

Staff writer

County ambulance crews were spread thin Sunday with several units requested to Peabody, Goessel, and Ramona. The direst call might have been for a code red 89-year-old stroke victim in Ramona.

Ambulances were called from Marion and Tampa, but Tampa took 20 minutes to arrive, and Marion ambulance 23 minutes.

Marion responders had to cross a large portion of the county to get there. While Tampa is closer, first responders have to get to the station from their homes or wherever else they are.

There was a caregiver on-hand with the stroke patient. Being in that situation can be difficult and stressful, EMS director Travis Parmley said.

“Obviously, there’s anxiety,” he said. “Having waited on an ambulance before, it seems like it takes forever even though it doesn’t. I don’t know what else to say other than that it’s not a comfortable feeling by any means.”

Two requests were made for emergency helicopters, but both were unable to fly because of thunderstorms.

Marion ambulance took her halfway to Salina Regional Medical Center and met with a Salina ambulance on the way. The patient was transferred to the Salina ambulance because her situation needed more resources than the Marion ambulance had, Parmley said.

The first request was to take the woman to Herington Hospital but the hospital deferred treatment because it wasn’t fully equipped for the situation.

Salina was the best choice because it was better equipped than Marion to handle the situation, Parmley said.

“If you head south to Marion, they’re going to spend an hour there, and then we’re going to try getting them down to Wichita,” he said. “They’re actually spending more time away from definitive care. Ultimately that’s our goal, to get them somewhere that can handle a stroke patient.”

Herington Hospital and St. Luke Hospital both are level four trauma centers, so they have resources to combat strokes caused by clots but only as immediate first treatments.

Those treatments do not work for hemorrhagic strokes.

As a level three trauma center, Salina’s hospital would be able to fully treat stroke patients.

Marion ambulance brought one of the two people from Tampa ambulance while transporting the stroke victim. The other first responder took Tampa ambulance to respond to a call in Tampa.

A paramedic responded to Ramona after being called back from an accident in Peabody. He was taken off the Ramona call because the ambulance left with the stroke victim before he arrived.

“That’s where the additional personnel are paying dividends,” he said.

Parmley has a paramedic assigned to respond anywhere in the county for two of three shifts each day, which will increase to every shift in January.

“As far as juggling people around and making sure we have coverage, it’s certainly a challenge on days like that,” he said.

The accident at Peabody happened between 11 and 11:15 a.m. when a semi went off US-50 near Peabody and crashed into a tree.

Law enforcement and Peabody firefighters spent several minutes trying to locate the vehicle, and requested that other responders stand by until the semi was found.

The semi’s front end front-end was heavily damaged and the vehicle had to be towed, according to police scanner transmissions, but no major injuries were reported.

Hillsboro ambulance was unavailable for the calls in Tampa and Ramona because it already was helping a person falling in and out of consciousness at Goessel Mennonite Church. The patient was taken to Newton Medical Center by Hillsboro ambulance.

Last modified Oct. 1, 2020

 

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