Paramedics need medications to save lives

ELKHART, Ind. -- Elkhart Police are investigating the possible theft of narcotics from the Concord Township Fire Department ambulances. Goshen Hospital has pulled most of its pain killers off the Concord ambulances.

A local, independent ambulance service says the first minutes of treatment in an emergency are critical.

Paramedics say when it's go time, there's no holding back.

Whether responding to a fire, entrapment, or a health call, the first few minutes they have with patients are crucial.

Jerry Schley is a critical care paramedic with the Southwest Michigan Community Ambulance Service.

Schley says heart monitors and medications are important life saving tools.

"A Thomas pack is what we take in the house for our most critical patients, and it has all our most advanced stuff so here's all the medicines. We have pain management, cardiac issues, allergic reactions, everything is in there," said Schley. "It's very important to have that stuff available to you and it's especially important to get it to the patient in a quick and timely manner."

Schley says as a paramedic you never know how severely someone is hurt or how long it will take to get to the hospital,

"We had a lot of problems this winter with weather and road conditions. What would normally be a 20 minutes max to the hospital ended up turning into an hour and a half transport time. So you have that critical patient in your unit for an extended length of time," said Schley.

When it's a matter of life or death, and every second counts, being equipped with everything from saline to narcotics is a must.

If an ambulance isn't fully equipped with these things there are certain calls it cannot respond to.

That's the case right now out in Concord Township, which means that other ambulances and paramedics have to be contracted in.


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