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Paramedic's Corner: Total ambulance calls for Pulaski County continue to increase
Paramedic's Corner: Total ambulance calls for Pulaski County continue to increase

Gary Carmack
The Pulaski County Ambulance District (PCAD) responded to 4,813 patients in 2008, which is a significant increase ove prior years.

However, before giving the highest call areas, there is a need to explain the system used for tabulating these calls. In days gone by I did these by hand and it was easy to determine the town, or nearest town to code the run to. Now it is done by computer and the computer system gathers this information following Medicare standards by using zip codes. Therefore, some zip codes will code the call to a town other than from the responding ambulance. As an example: a call down Highway 28 or Highway Y might be coded as Dixon, although the ambulance responded from the Waynesville/St. Robert base (Medic 22 and Medic 25). A common example of zip code confusion is the Laquey/Buckhorn area. A call down Highway AB might be in the Richland zip code, so although the Laquey ambulance (Medic 26) might be the responding unit, the call codes to Richland. What this means is due to the zip code system statistics are actually a little skewed. I just wanted the readers to know this. It isn’t much, but changes the calls from certain towns slightly.

There is one thing for certain, however: the highest call area is Waynesville/St. Robert. Even with the zip code situation, we know over fifty percent of calls originate in the Waynesville/St. Robert area. Responses to Waynesville or other location in the 65583 zip code resulted in 1,550 calls, 15 of which were actually in Buckhorn. St. Robert had 1,354 calls to the 65584 zip code. The third-busiest area was zip code 65556, which includes Richland and some Swedeborg calls, which had a total of 687 calls. The fourth-highest was the Crocker 65452 zip code at 349 responses. Number five was Fort Leonard Wood zip code 65473 at 220 calls. Though we do provide mutual aid to Fort Leonard Wood for emergency 911 calls, most of these 220 were emergency transfers to other hospitals from General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital (GLWACH).

After Fort Leonard Wood, the next highest call area was Laquey zip code 65534 with 150 patients. Tghere were also two calls to zip code 65552, one to Laquey and 14 coded to Plato for various locations on South Highway 17.

Some other response areas included eight calls to Newburg and one each to Big Piney, Duke, Roby and Jerome. There were five calls to Stoutland and 26 to Devils Elbow. There were 74 calls from the Dixon 65459 zip code, many of whicg are on Highway 28 north of St. Robert.

We also responded to Phelps County Regional Medical Center in Rolla 160 times, 84 times to St. John’s Hospital in Lebanon, and 16 times to Lake Regional Medical Center in Osage Beach to transport patients to nursing facilities or other hospitals.

This might be a good time to explain to any new readers where our ambulances are based. PCAD has four ambulance bases, the main base being at Waynesville, which we call the Waynesville/St. Robert base as it sits right near the boundary at St. Robert. PCAD maintains two first-out units here, Medic 22 (M22) and Medic 25 (M25).

The next base is at Crocker and one unit, M23 is staffed here. Richland is also staffed with one unit, M24. The most recently built base is in Laquey where M26 is based. Each of these five ambulances is staffed with an emergency medical technician (EMT) and a paramedic. The district also has a back-up unit, M27, that can be staffed with a call-in crew, and during a disaster additional units can be staffed.

Each ambulance backs up the other units. PCAD has a response plan so when the ambulance is out on a call in one area, the ambulance from one of the others responds. For example, if M23 is on a call and a second call comes in for Crocker, M24 will respond from Richland and vice-versa. Adding the new ambulance base at Laquey has been a tremendous boost as this unit, M26 can respond to back up Richland or Waynesville/St. Robert. M26 places an ambulance close to the Laquey School and the Laquey/Buckhorn area. This greatly improves response time down Highway W, Highway AB, South Highway 17, Highway NN and other roads in that area. The Laquey base also greatly enhances quick access to the western part of Interstate 44 in Pulaski County, which is an area for which we get many emergency calls.

Back to statistics, the busiest month in 2008 was October at 448 calls. The busiest day during the week is Mondays; for the year, we had 729 calls on Mondays. The busiest time of the day is between 3 and 4 p.m.

The highest destination starts with Phelps County Regional Medical Center in Rolla, where 1,079 patients were taken in 2008. The second-highest destination was St. John’s Hospital in Lebanon at 777. Third was General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital at 723, followed by Lake Regional Medical Center in Osage Beach at 232. Others werfe St. John’s Hospital in Springfield at 106, University Hospital in Columbia at 79, and 20 calls each to Truman Veterans' Administration Hospital in Columbia and Cox South Hospital in Springfield.

Smaller numbers of patients were taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Jefferson City with 15 patients, Columbia Regional at 10, Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis at nine, Lakeland Regional Hospital in Springfield at seven, St. Louis University Hospital in St. Louis at six, Texas County Hospital in Houston at three, two each to Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, Capital Region in Jefferson City and Christian Health in St. Louis. One patient was taken in 2008 to Cardinal Glennon, Boone Hospital, Columbia, Cox Medical Center, North, and St. Anthony St. Louis.

Call breakdowns by patient’s age were:

0-10 years: 197
11-20 years: 368
21-30 years: 653
31-40 years: 494
41-50 years: 537
51-60 years: 594
61-70 years: 448
70 or older: 1,210
Undocumented age: 312

The highest types of trauma calls were:
Motor Vehicle Crash 627
Falls 292
Assaults 110

Calls of interest:
Psychiatric/Suicide Attempt 108
Overdose/Poisoning 77
shootings/stabbings 19

Pregnancy/Childbirth calls 40
Pediatrics 8

Highest Medical Call:
Cardiac/Chest pain 391 and 13 Cardiac Arrest.
Trouble breathing 377
Abdominal pain 235
Diabetic 88
Seizures 83
Allergic reaction 55
Back pain 50
Altered Mental Status 42
Headache 29

Standbys, fire, police, sports, events 146

To close, feel welcome to stop in our bases and say hello to the EMTs and paramedics. Have your blood pressure, vital signs, oxygen saturation, and glucose checked at no charge. Remember, see your doctor for checkups, slow down driving and wear seatbelts, and if you have cardiac or stroke symptoms call 911 STAT (Immediately, with the most urgency)!

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