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Ambulances Not Available When Needed

Last updated on Wednesday, September 14, 2011

(BEDFORD) - Lawrence County Sheriff Sam Craig is concerned that ambulances are not available when needed.

Dispatchers have requested ambulance crews to respond to accident scenes and have been told by both hospitals that none are available.

"My first concern is for our citizens," Craig told Lawrence County Commissioners Tuesday morning. "My second is about liability issues to the county."

But recently, police are being told no ambulances are available.

"Normally they (hospital staff) notify us when they don't have an ambulance available. But that has not been happening lately," Craig said.

Craig asked the commissioners for permission to call an ambulance that is closest to the accident scene instead of using a rotation call out list.

"That way we save valuable down time," Craig added.

Craig has talked to personnel from both local hospitals, but he's not resolved the problem. Craig plans to meet with officials again to discuss his concerns.

Ambulance crews have not been available because they are doing more out-of -county transports and transporting individuals at nursing homes, Craig said.

Commissioner Chris May says he doesn't see why dispatchers couldn't call the closest ambulance to respond.

"When ambulance crews arrive they ask you what hospital you want to be taken to. I don't see how it could be an issue by not using the rotation list," May said.

But County Attorney Dave Smith said the rotation list was set up years ago and that commissioners should table the issue until the situation could be looked into.

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