The following Letter to the Editor ran in today’s Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
Thank you, Daily News, for publishing Jeremiah Thompson’s Letter to the Editor (Aug. 23, Volunteers who save lives). I have since been following his blog, Bring to Light, Stories from Latah County. Though I am thankful for the emergency medical service volunteers’ terrific service to the county, the documented articles on the blog leave me less than optimistic that my medical emergency needs can be met in a timely fashion or with a paramedic if an emergency warranted such level of care.
In an attempt to address my two concerns, response time and paramedic availability, I spoke with a Troy EMS volunteer. She assured me Troy’s response times are adequate for the needs of this area of Latah County due to some of the volunteers living within blocks of the station. I asked what Troy’s EMS back-up plan was if they were unable to respond to an emergency. She stated Moscow Ambulance and Deary cover for them. This leaves my paramedic concern unattended since neither Troy nor Deary has a volunteer paramedic.
According to a dispatch recording in one of Bring to Light’s articles, Moscow has at times been left without a paramedic available for four to five hours, which also leaves the rural communities without access to a paramedic in the case of an emergency requiring a rendezvous. This is disconcerting.
Since there is a private EMS provider in Moscow, why can’t Latah County residents have the best of both services, access to local volunteer EMS providers and when they aren’t able to fulfill the medical needs, have access to the private EMS provider functioning as a back-up? Certainly, a mutual operating agreement between rural EMS providers and the private EMS provider, PACT EMS, would be a perfect fit when Latah County residents’ lives are at stake.