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  • Last modified 18 days ago (Nov. 23, 2017)

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Dispatch errors prompt EMS changes

Crews authorized to ‘jump’ calls for faster response

Staff writer

Mistakes that led to a rural Lincolnville woman arriving at a hospital more than an hour after an Oct. 28 911 call reporting she’d had a cardiac arrest likely won’t happen again.

“That was a mistake by dispatch,” Emergency Medical Services director Ed Debesis told county commissioners Monday.

Debesis said he’d taken the matter in hand, both with dispatch and with EMS.

“I’ve been over there,” Debesis said. “They’ve heard my piece. My crews, if they think they are closer, they will respond.”

After the Oct. 28 call came in, dispatchers called for Tampa ambulance to go to the home about 4½ miles southeast of Lincolnville. Tampa is 18.6 miles from the address. Marion ambulance, however, is 11.7 miles away.

Six minutes after paging Tampa ambulance, Lincolnville first responders were dispatched while CPR instructions were being given to the caller.

It is common for an ambulance and first responders to be dispatched at the same time for situations less serious than a cardiac arrest.

It was more than an hour before the woman arrived at St. Luke Hospital. She did not survive.

Sheriff Rob Craft earlier said ambulances have assigned zones and are dispatched according to a map.

“According to the map, Tampa shouldn’t have been first,” Debesis told commissioners. “Now, Lincolnville first responders, they should have been.”

Debesis said he gave instructions to full-time EMS employees.

“My full-time people have the authority to jump calls,” Debesis said. “Not to take over, but to jump in and go there immediately. They can leave if they’re not needed.”

Debesis said full-timers also will go on all calls where a patient is critical or suffering cardiac arrest.

Last modified Nov. 23, 2017

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