January 1, 1973 to October 31, 2003
From St. Joseph's Hospital "THE NEWS" Vol VIII, No. 1 February 1973 Edition
SJH begins area ambulance service
St. Joseph's Hospital started providing emergency ambulance services January 1, offering a good example of how a community hospital meets its obligation to respond to an urgent community need.
When private ambulance companies announced in December (1972) that they would no longer provide emergency transportation after January 1, city and county officials, as well as private citizens, became very concerned.
Although municipal and agency officials attended meetings to discuss the problem, there was uncertainty about how an ambulance service could get into operation in time to meet the January 1 deadline.
Among the persons attending the emergency meeting were Sister Rita Marie and Art Maher, who spend many hours studying the situation. They then presented a comprehensive emergency medical service and rescue system which has been endorsed by city and county officials.
Sister Rita Marie told news reporters "City and county officials have endorsed the concept of a city-county emergency medical service and are appointing a council to study proposed programs for the development and provision of a comprehensive city/county emergency medical service and rescue system."
"St. Joseph's entry into ambulance service was meant to fill an immediate need and was made with the understanding that a comprehensive plan would be developed within a short time. Our immediate supply of two ambulances will not meet the needs of a city/county emergency medial ambulance system"
The hospital announced its intention Tuesday, December 26. Six days later the service went into operation, complete with new vehicles and a staff to operate them!
Two ambulances purchased by the hospital are new 1973 Dodge Medicruisers, vehicles which more than meet all existing standards of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare and the American College of Orthopedic Surgeons. They are spacious: 61 inches of headroom (most have only 54) and over 310 cubic feet of space. Of this space, 42 cubic feet are devoted to storage for medical supplies. Despite all this space, the vehicles' exterior width has been held to 79 inches for easily handling in tight traffic, an advantage in many emergency situations.
* The patient's compartment has 30 inches of clear working space ahead of the cot area and 25 1/2 inches of space at the side of the cot area (for administration of cardiac massage). This amount of space exceeds the recommendations of the Ambulance Design Criteria Committee of the National Academy of Engineering.
* The partition between the driver's compartment and the patient care area of the vehicle is a walk-through type, permitting a driver to enter the rear compartment quickly to assist the attendant in case of critical emergency.
* If necessary, four passengers can be carried in each vehicle; folding cots can be attached from swing down ceiling hooks.
St. Joseph's has a third vehicle for use as a back-up ambulance; it will not be used for routine calls.
"This new program was an example of how hospital people function as a team" said Art Maher. "In those few short days, we had Personnel working to fill our newly-created job openings, Materials Management was securing vehicles, Accounting and Business were developing rate proposals, Engineering was obtaining special telephone services, Emergency Services was planning operations and training, and Public Relations was handling public information related to the project.
The service, which operates on a 24-hour basis, is under the medical direction of Dr. Don Lantz. The 12 people hired are Alfred T. Smith, Robert G. Wilson, Robert M. Pierce, Louis M. Harmon, Simon Knotts, Steven D. Knotts, Herbert R. Meredity, Brenard L. Pahl, Devere S. Deming, Mack Washington and Loren K. Nichols.
Persons hired for the service are already certified Emergency Medical Technicians or will be expected to take the training, which the hospital will be offering beginning in mid-January.
St. Joseph's Ambulances are answering only emergency calls; routine requests for patient transport are still being answered by private companies and the hospital is cooperating with them. Persons are taken to the hospital of their choice; several patients already have been taken to Marietta Memorial and Camden-Clark Memorial Hospitals.