Stalled train makes ambulance re-route
A 60-year-old woman having trouble breathing Saturday in Ramona had to be taken to Salina Regional Health Center because a railroad crossing was blocked by a stopped train.
The ambulance originally was headed to Hillsboro Community Hospital, but after waiting 10 minutes for a slow-moving Union Pacific train to clear the crossing, ambulance attendants saw that a second track was blocked by a stopped train.
“We did get hold of dispatch, and dispatch got hold of UP,” emergency medical services director Travis Parmley said. “UP said there were more trains to come. With the condition the patient was in, it was better to go to Salina than wait for all those trains.”
Muddy roads prevented the ambulance from taking a detour along other roads, Parmley said.
“If we have to go a mile or two away, that’s one thing,” he said, “but when the roads are in no condition to do that.”
Parmley said it took two hours to get the patient to a hospital. Waiting for the first track to clear, and then finding the second track blocked wasted about 10 minutes of that time, he said.
“If they had known there was a stopped train, they would have made that decision to go to Salina sooner,” he said.
Parmley said a potential for a train delay often is there, but he wouldn’t say ambulances are frequently delayed by trains.