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Opinion

October 9, 2013

OUR VIEW: Let's talk before we leap

When we followed up with Rural/Metro Corp. officials in April, we left the conversation hopeful that delayed response times were soon to be a thing of the past.

We learned there had been management changes at the ambulance service company contracted by Cass County, and we were assured it would result in positive changes. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case.

The poor service and long wait times were the focus of much debate at this week’s Logansport City Council meeting, and it seems the problem is actually getting worse.

City officials threw out some examples:

• A person went into full cardiac arrest and waited 24 minutes because one of Rural/Metro’s ambulances was en route to Indianapolis with a patient while the other was on another call.

• A 2-year-old boy had a piece of steel wedged into his eye and firefighters ended up taking him to the hospital in a firetruck after waiting too long for Rural/Metro.

• Family members of patients have gotten fed up with waiting for Rural/Metro and taken them to the hospital in their own vehicles.

• Tow trucks have arrived at accident scenes before Rural/Metro.

When there are lives on the line, this type of poor service is unacceptable.

We weren’t surprised when talk at the meeting turned to providing funding for the Logansport Fire Department to purchase an ambulance. Clearly, LFD officials say, the problem needs to be solved.

We agree, but we’re hesitant to jump on board with the idea of spending $100,000 of taxpayer money just yet.

Though the item was approved as part of the 2014 budget, we’re happy to know concerns among council members have sparked a desire for future discussion on the matter before a vehicle is purchased.

There was a reason for the change 18 months ago, and that reason still exists. The ambulance service was moved to a private entity in an effort to push the financial burden of emergency transports off taxpayers’ shoulders.

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