Paramedics: Non-Emergency Calls Create Strain, Frustration

3 years 8 months 3 weeks ago Tuesday, March 25 2014 Mar 25, 2014 Tuesday, March 25, 2014 4:25:00 PM CDT March 25, 2014 in News
By: Alexandra Pierce: KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Coughs, nausea and backaches don't often require an ambulance. But those are just some of the non-emergency calls Boone Hospital gets on a daily basis.

Paramedics there have been answering an influx of calls - more than 10,000 in 2013, 2,000 of which were non-emergency requests for service. That's 18 percent.

Kevin Gill has been a paramedic for 23 years and said it's very frustrating when people call because they don't want to "get out in the weather" or "spend gas money."

"That's not what we're there for," he said. "We're not a taxi service, we're EMS."

When paramedics answer non-emergency calls, it diverts critical resources from situations which are a matter of life or death.

KOMU 8 News rode along with two paramedics for a day.

The first call they took was for an older woman who was feeling nauseous. On the way to the hospital the only things paramedics gave here were fluids and medication to settle her stomach.

There were three other people at the woman's house at the time. In even followed the ambulance in another vehicle.

"What someone considers an emergency," Gill said, "is very subjective."

Paramedics ask people to consider carefully before calling 9-1-1.

Here are some examples of non-emergency situations:

• Minor illness or injury not requiring immediate help:

  • Flu-like symptoms/common colds
  • Chronic aches and pains
  •  Minor cuts
  • Broken fingers or toes

• Emotional upsets
• Routine visits to medical offices, clinics and hospitals

"I always tell people, if you have a situation you don't feel comfortable handling, call us," Gill said.

Boone Hospital ambulance supervisor Marc Carr said there are other ways to get the care you need.

"Research and exploit your personal networks as much as possible if it's not an emergency," Carr said. " Utilize every resource at hand, whether that be a family member, friend, neighbor, an ask a nurse line, any of that to get advice prior to activating the EMS system."

The paramedics said they will always help someone who calls, but with only five ambulances in service on any given day, just a few non-emergency calls could put half of the hospital's resources out of commission.

"There's a lot of time and effort being invested, at the federal level, to reevaluate the EMS system as a whole and see if our model that worked 15 years ago is what we still need to be doing today," Carr said.

An improved EMS program could be in place in Columbia within the next five years or so, he said.

 

More News

Grid
List
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Ten people are facing federal indictment in a $5.4 million methamphetamine distribution conspiracy. ... More >>
4 minutes ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 4:07:15 PM CST December 15, 2017 in News
INDEPENDENCE - Police said an endangered silver advisory has been issued for a 73-year-old woman with dementia who might be... More >>
28 minutes ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 3:43:24 PM CST December 15, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – The Jefferson City Public School Boundaries Committee began discussions on boundary lines for the city’s new high... More >>
43 minutes ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 3:29:00 PM CST December 15, 2017 in News
HOLTS SUMMIT - Holts Summit's board of aldermen met Thursday night to discuss creating a city-owned shelter. Currently, the... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 3:07:00 PM CST December 15, 2017 in News
SEDALIA (AP) — The former administrator of an ambulance service in central Missouri has pleaded guilty to embezzling more... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 2:52:00 PM CST December 15, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Police said a 42-year-old woman went missing Friday morning and is considered at risk because of medical conditions.... More >>
2 hours ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 2:11:00 PM CST December 15, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Some HIV-positive patients in nearly half the counties in Missouri will lose health insurance coverage next... More >>
3 hours ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 1:02:12 PM CST December 15, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A 37-year-old man is charged in the shooting of two suburban St. Louis police officers who... More >>
3 hours ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 12:28:00 PM CST December 15, 2017 in News
MONTGOMERY CITY - The Montgomery County Coroner's office is investigating how a person died after a house fire Thursday afternoon... More >>
3 hours ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 12:15:00 PM CST December 15, 2017 in News
PERRYVILLE (AP) — A dog who was the subject of a two-year court battle and a faked death is back... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 10:40:00 AM CST December 15, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The search for a new St. Louis police chief is down to six finalists — three... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 10:34:09 AM CST December 15, 2017 in News
GIRARD, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating the death of a man whose body was found under a rural southeast... More >>
6 hours ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 9:43:00 AM CST December 15, 2017 in News
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A homeless man who told police he dismembered his wife in a Missouri hotel room then... More >>
6 hours ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 9:40:00 AM CST December 15, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The trial date for a man charged in connection with a 2002 rape case has been set for... More >>
7 hours ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 8:33:00 AM CST December 15, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - A Missouri basketball player and a former Mizzou student have teamed up to start a nonprofit aimed at... More >>
7 hours ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 8:15:00 AM CST December 15, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Chamber of Commerce is advocating for a full functioning Hyperloop to come to Missouri. After... More >>
12 hours ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 3:32:00 AM CST December 15, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – More than 2,300 students will receive degrees from The University of Missouri this weekend, which means heavy traffic... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 2:20:00 AM CST December 15, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Kevin Roy scored twice and John Gibson made 29 saves as the Anaheim Ducks defeated the... More >>
17 hours ago Thursday, December 14 2017 Dec 14, 2017 Thursday, December 14, 2017 10:20:39 PM CST December 14, 2017 in Sports
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 42°
4pm 44°
5pm 42°
6pm 39°
7pm 38°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

4:00p
Jeopardy!
4:30p
Jeopardy!
5:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 5
4:00p
The Goldbergs
4:30p
The Goldbergs
5:00p
American Dad!

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Blindspot
8:00p
Dateline NBC
7:00p
The 86th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld