UAL747DEN From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2392 posts, RR: 11 Posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 1465 times:
I work with the American Red Cross and today I was working in the call center for the hurricane's in the East. Today I got a call from a woman that said that she was having a stroke. I told her that she needed to call 911 right away. She told me that she already did and they told her that they could not help her and to call the 800 number to the Red Cross. In total disbelieve I made a call to the Sheriffs Dept. in her county. When I did this I got a message that the phone had been disconnected. Next I called the next county over. They gave me a different number to get a hold of them. I called again and it rang for about 5min before I got through. They told me that I would need to call the Emergency Dispatch for EMS. I got that number and made sure that my caller was still alive and tried the EMS number. Upon doing so I got a lady with a very strong accent that did not have any grammar skills. I told her that I needed an EMS unit sent to my callers house code 3 because I had a Delta medical (The highest priority) The dispatcher then told me that she did not have anyone available. Thinking that she meant that they were all out on calls I asked her what the ETA would be, 15-20min tops? She then told me "We have no one available, one of our ambulances broke down so the guys took the other one over to Mobile to get a new carburetor." I could not believe what I had just herd. My mouth dropped and I was silent. The person next to me gave me a funny look and I turned to get and said, "This lady just told me that there is no one available to help my caller that could possibly die if she doesn't get to a hospital. They are driving to Mobile to get a part for the other ambulance." I just could not believe it. How could this happen in America! I asked her what I should do, I told her that this lady could die. She responded by saying that as soon as they get back and get the other unit fixed they could call her and see if she still needed assistance but that would be hours. Then she asked my what number she should tell callers to call if she gets anymore medical calls. I told her that there is nothing that I could do, she is the 911 dispatcher and she should be helping them not me, IM IN COLORADO!!!! Next I called to the nearest county in Florida still in complete shock and asked the dispatcher there if she could help me. After explaining the situation to her she said that she would get a Sheriff's Officer out there ASAP and put a MedEvac helicopter on stand-by. She explained to me that over there in Alabama its like a totally different country and she gets these kinds of calls all the time.
Sorry that was so long, but I just had to share. This was completely crazy and I would advise EVERYONE to stay the hell away from Atmore AL. And the entire state for that matter. I will be sharing this information with any news outlet that will listen and also calling the senator in that district. This is just uncalled for and should not happen anywhere in America.
N317AS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 1441 times:
One thing to remember is don't base a whole state on something one person from Florida said. There are parts of Alabama that are lucky to have electricity, much less EMT services because the counties are so poor. So this isn't really surprising. I am surprised the lady that said the ambulance was in the shop just blew you off. Maybe she was really at a call center in India.
Type-rated From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 1431 times:
Not to side with the Alabamians, but things are really a mess over there from Ivan. We flew over yesterday and that entire Pensacola-Mobile area got wiped out really good. I think that what the woman meant, but was unable to verbalize is that everyone that they did have is probably busy doing search and rescue and the only ambulance that is left needs a part. AL is a very rural state with limited resources, which Ivan over stretched. Then on the news tonight, I heard that there is some kind of discrimination going on between Alabamians and Floridians in that part of the country. The news said that this has ceased for the time being after people discovered that the debris from their homes looks the same weather is was from Florida or Alabama. They said that they know the area will have recovered from these storms when the bickering starts up again!
UAL747DEN From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2392 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 1379 times:
Well you both make valid points, however the EMT services should not be stressed in that area. Through the information that I have available to me I am able to get a general idea of what types of services are being utilized and the area I was dispatching was not standing by for any other county. From the sound of the 911 dispatcher that took my call this is not a big deal to them and this is something that is not out of the ordernarry. I am making an attempt to try to figure out exactly what kind of equipment they are using out there because what I see in my mind is a very old car type ambulance. If it truly is the case that they are so poor in that county that they can not even provide basic emergency service, something needs to be done NOW and I can assure you that I will be the one to get it done no matter how wide my mouth must come open. Nobody deserves to live like that and I will not have it. I cannot express my concern and pure anger when I was unable to provide a helpless woman that was having a stroke with other medical problems in her history with the basic help she needed. For that matter I could not even provide her with a ride to the hospital to save her life. I will follow her case as close as I can and see to it that if there is someone responsible for this they are held accountable. Could any of you imagine having someone on the line that needs such a simple service as a ride to the hospital to save her life and not being able to get someone there to help her when she is in an area that should have medical service a few minutes out? It is the worst feeling a person can have.
Hope I have not gotten too emotional in here but it is just something that I despise.
TYPE-RATED: Email me at Orchardslogo@aol.com, I will be out of town for a week but will get back to you when I get back in town.
Redngold From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6907 posts, RR: 41
Reply 4, posted (10 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 1300 times:
UAL -- as N314 said before, much of Alabama is poor and lacking in good medical service. Also you need to remember that the whole state was affected by Ivan, not only the gulf shore. Plus you do not know why the ambulances broke down -- perhaps "broke down" was the dispatcher's way of saying "destroyed by Ivan" or "flooded out." You simply don't know.
Your job is to do exactly what you did - to follow as many options as possible and try to get that woman some help. I know it's incredibly frustrating to rely on other people and hear what seem to be the most moronic excuses even though you know the severity of the situation. One time I responded to a car accident within feet of a house, and the people who lived there came outside, but when I asked them to call an ambulance, they did not. I don't know why they didn't follow through, but I do know that through persistence I did finally get some help for the injured driver.