Tifton Gazette

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June 23, 2014

Woman angry with Berrien EMS

TIFTON — A concerned woman contacted The Tifton Gazette Monday morning, upset about the emergency system in Berrien County.

Amanda Gaskins Morris said her 75-year-old father, who resides in Alapaha, suffered from a stroke Friday afternoon. An "extreme heart patient," he is wheelchair bound.

On Friday, Morris said her father was throwing up profusely. Her mother contacted her aunt, who called Berrien County 911. She said her aunt gave them all of the information and was told by the dispatcher that they didn't have any trucks (ambulances) available and they would have to call Tift County. Morris said the call to 911 was made at approximately 4:50 p.m. and the ambulance didn't arrive until 45 to 50 minutes later.

At press time, her father remained at Tift Regional Medical Center. He's very confused and has memory issues. She told The Gazette she contacted attorney Ken Nugent to address the matter concerning Berrien County and she was informed to contact the media.

The Gazette contacted Angie Rutland, Berrien County EMA and 911 director, for information. She said both of their medical units were out Friday when the call from Alapaha came in. One was out with a patient and the other was on its way to South Georgia Medical Center, transporting a patient.

The initial call came in at 5:02 p.m. and it took until 5:05 p.m. to get information from the caller. Rutland explained the caller didn't give much information; she didn't know the address or the problem, but she was able to give the dispatcher the name of the patient. This helped the dispatcher pinpoint the location.

Rutland said while one dispatcher was on the phone with the caller, another was already contacting Tift County, which was closest, at 5:04 p.m. for mutual aid.

At 5:07 p.m., Tift County advised they would offer assistance.

Rutland said she was proud of her staff for following protocol according to their policy.

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