Wells attacked for EMS refusal
BUCKEYE LAKE- Tensions regarding the Buckeye Lake Fire Department and whether the village should contract with Hebron for services exploded Monday night following comments from council member Barry Herron and Council President Charlene Hayden.
Heron accused former council member Peggy Wells of “using” her elderly mother when Wells asked that Hebron Fire Department be dispatched to take her mother to the hospital. Wells was told that Buckeye Lake would have to be dispatched first, but that she could refuse service and then request Hebron. She did so and Herron questioned whether it was a ‘real’ emergency.
“I think words mean things,” Herron said Monday night. “There is a word called ‘emergency’ in EMS. Patients 1st has an agenda. It infuriates me that someone would use a parent to call an emergency, and then refuse service. I don’t know how you could do that. You do not call for an emergency, then it’s not an emergency.”
Hayden read her written report which in part addressed some ‘recent editorials’ in The Beacon. The references were actually to Letters to the Editor. She claimed they all are ‘written in the same style.’
Hayden also attacked Wells. “I think residents should ask, ‘What was the real emergency,’” said Hayden. “…In a real emergency would you not take the first responder if your slogan is ‘Patients 1st?’ Also, what if another village resident needed emergency service at their home at the time all this is taking place? How would you feel if your loved one died because someone called the Buckeye Lake squad only to sign off that they didn’t want to use them?”
Wells, who was present at Monday night’s meeting, strongly disagreed and reacted angrily to Herron’s comments. Buckeye Lake Police Chief James Hanzey asked her to leave the meeting.
According to Hebron Fire Department records, Wells called for an ambulance June 10 to transport her mother to the hospital, who was experiencing back pain.
“When a call is made, it’s considered an emergency until EMS arrives. It’s her choice for transport,” said Hebron Fire Chief Randy Weekly. He said calls from dispatchers can be vague and all responders must assume each call is an emergency. “Is it an emergency? It could be. We don’t know until we get there,” said Weekly. He said often squads head to a call with lights and sirens blazing, then transport at the speed limit with no sirens or lights because the transport is necessary, but not life threatening. Mutual aid often responds as well. “That happens often. If it were an emergency, as in not breathing instead of back pain, I’d assume (Wells) would take the first responder. She knew it wasn’t an emergency. She chose to go with someone else,” said Weekly. “She decided it wasn’t life threatening and went through the protocol.”
In other council news:
• Hayden said the fire department held its second meeting to update residents on its status June 20. She said Captain Dave Ruton reviewed the budget information and costs associated with operating fire and emergency medical service and Miller discussed fireworks safety. “Even though attendance was small, a good question and answer session followed the presentation,” said Hayden. The next meeting is July 18, 7:30 p.m., at the fire department.
Former council member Brenda Hileman said she believed the June 20 meeting was not clearly advertised and the meeting time changed. “Are you trying to confuse people on meeting times?” she said.
• Hanzey told council members that the police department is “cracking down” on curfew violators. He said first time violators will be taken to the police station and their parents will be notified to retrieve them. The second time, violators will be charged and their parents may face charges as well.
According to the curfew, juveniles up to 13 years of age are to be home by 10 p.m., juveniles 14 and 15 years of age by 11 p.m., and 16 and 17 year olds are to be home by midnight.