What Happens When When No One Comes?

by Evelyn Pyburn 

It happened again.

Monday evening at about 12:30 am, a patient in Laurel showed symptoms of a stroke and called for an ambulance. Only there was no ambulance available. With dispatch reaching out as far as Joliet, there was no available ambulance service — not in Joliet, not in Lockwood, not in Worden-Shepherd, not in Billings, not in Park City. In the end, a Laurel police officer put the patient in his patrol car to transport him to the hospital.

This sort of incident is becoming more and more regular, said K. C. Williams, the county DES director. The situation is very concerning. “It is becoming more and more critical,” said Williams, who believes people are not very aware of just how serious it is, and he wants to raise public awareness, so they can make good judgement calls in a critical situation.

It happens at least once a week, if not daily, and Williams is concerned that most people do not realize that calling 911 may not get them the help they expect. 

It can easily take an hour for an ambulance to arrive, and sometimes they never do.  Williams calls that hour the “golden hour” because often if aid isn’t available within an hour, the outcome is not good. “Minutes matter,” said Williams.

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