Avian flu advice: Prepare, but don’t panic
by Alan Reed
Jun 14, 2006 | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
For several years, members of Trigg County’s Hospital Board have entertained an idea of upgrading their ambulance personnel to a higher trained level. This week, the board may make a move to finally reach that level.

When the board meets during it session on Thursday night, it is expected that board chairman Dr. Michael Gross will introduce plans to upgrade the service to an Advanced Life Support rating. The meeting, held in the cafeteria of the hospital, is open to the public

Gross said that the proposition would probably mean greater expenses to the hospital. “It’s not a money making proposition, but I would not expect it to be. Larger communities and services can be profitable making 350 runs a month. Right now, we make about 150. We can recoup some of the costs with other services in the hospital, such as surgery and MRI. The real benefit will be to the community, where we make some long runs to Rockcastle or Canton, or even further, and being able to provide more service will save lives.”

The advanced life support rating would mean keeping a certified paramedic on-duty 24 hours per day, seven days a week, with a second on standby. The paramedics would be able to provide additional lifesaving treatments at the scene of an emergency and inbound to the hospital for treatment. Additional drugs could be administered to victims, as well as a greater number of procedures used to save lives.

“The greatest expense will probably be salaries,” Gross said. “We would also need some additional drugs and supplies, as well as some increased liability insurance, but I understand that won’t be much.”

To become a paramedic, an individual requires 500 hours of classroom instruction, and an additional 500 hours of “ride along training,” according to Gross. Once trained, a perspective paramedic would have to pass a State examination, and receive yearly continuing education.

According to Gross, the existing staff would be augmented with additional the additional trained paramedics. “We still need drivers and helpers, too. It’s also a huge undertaking to go back to school, and to keep a part-time or fulltime job. We will put two men through training, and anticipate completion in December.

For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.
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