Sumter EMS worries resident

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

A Sunday incident had one Sumter County resident very concerned about ambulance service in the area.

Sumter resident Nancy Larkin came before the commission Monday to let them no they were seriously shorthanded when it came to emergency response ambulance service.

“I see that we have a problem in this county with the ambulance service,” Larkin said. “This weekend, my aunt passed out in church and had a severe rate of low heart rate and we needed an ambulance. The county ambulance service was out responding somewhere between Meridian and this county.”

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The lack of a backup truck, Larkin said, concerned her greatly.

Bryan Galyon, a representative of NorthStar Emergency Medical Services, said Larkin’s claims were not completely accurate.

“Mrs. Larkin has made some accusations that have been made before and again, they are inaccurate,” Galyon said. “There were two ambulances. One transported a non-emergency patient to DCH and then they transported an emergency patient to Meridian.”

Something needed to be done, Larkin said, before another serious situation turned deadly.

“My aunt is in the hospital and she is not in good condition,” Larkin said. “I would like to see some action taken to ensure that this does not happen to any other people. Fortunately, she didn’t die.”

An ambulance, Galyon said, did respond to the scene and even attempted to make contact. If there are any questions about NorthStar, Galyon said, he welcomed people to call them to clear the air.

“I think our dispatch attempted to call back a cell phone number,” Galyon said. “I have tried to address these problems with individuals in the county when they come up. If they will call and ask, I will be glad to answer them. That way the commission won’t be brought in the middle of it and given inaccurate information.”

The commission also discussed the process of consolidating Livingston and Sumter County High Schools with superintendent Fred. Primm.

The early stages of the change are going very well, Primm said.

“We are already working,” Primm said. “We have already got an architect and we are going to go ahead and try to move forward. We have done a lot of work from the infrastructure standpoint.”

When the new high school is constructed, Primm said, students will have new and exciting opportunities.

“The building itself is actually shaping out our curriculum so we are going to be doing a lot of different things,” Primm said. “We are at the design phase and we should be able to have some renderings up in the next two to three weeks so you will be able to see what we are doing.”

While they were considering plans for the new high school, Primm said, they also looked at the cost to improve facilities system-wide. Primm said the changes they are looking at would cost about $67 million, but this would bring all facilities up to par.

“We don’t want to just build a Taj Mahal and then let everything else go,” Primm said. “We want to make sure we bring everything up to standard.”