Archive for Sunday, May 28, 2006

Eudora EMS unit seeks autonomy

May 28, 2006


The director of Eudora's Emergency Medical Service wants county leaders to consider allowing his service to break out from underneath the supervision of Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical.

Bill Vigneron, director of the volunteer EMS service, asked Eudora City Council members last week to consider taking over supervision of the program because he thought Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical was not communicating with or being flexible enough with the EMS program.

"There have been some issues that have come to the surface that have been brewing over the years," Vigneron said.

Council members stopped short of making a commitment to bring the service into the city's budget. Instead, they urged a meeting among EMS, county, city and fire and medical department leaders.

"We want to see what the issues are and what the protocols are, but I think everything on the list can be worked out," said Cheryl Beatty, Eudora city administrator.

Among the concerns Vigneron has are:

¢ Eudora EMS members are not allowed to provide some types of medicines or care, even though Vigneron said he thinks his crews have been properly trained to do so. For example, his crews cannot administer albuterol if a person has breathing problems, monitor glucose or administer other certain types of medicines without the supervision of a fire and medical official.

¢ The fire and medical department forbids children or family members from riding in a car as an EMS member travels to a call.

"That just proves to me that they don't know what we're dealing with in Eudora as volunteers," Vigneron said.

¢ The Eudora EMS members were not well notified of emergency response plans related to the microburst event in March.

¢ Several volunteers frequently experience dead spots in their radio coverage.

"The people in Lawrence are focused on Lawrence and Lawrence growth issues and not the issues in Eudora," Vigneron said.

Mark Bradford, chief of Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical, said he would be happy to talk with EMS and Eudora leaders. But he said there were limitations to what EMS members could do.

"As volunteer first responders, there is a limited scope of medical care that those individuals can or should be providing," Bradford said.

He said his department relies on protocols developed by the department's medical director, who also is a Lawrence physician, to determine who can provide what types of care on scene.

Other issues, such as allowing children to ride to the scenes of medical calls, created liability issues for the county if an EMS member became involved in an accident.

But Bradford said that the EMS program is vital and that he wanted to work out any issues that Eudora leaders have.

"They provide a great benefit to the entire community," Bradford said. "We're dependent on them. Our response times warrant the need for them."

Bradford estimated that response times for an ambulance to arrive from Lawrence to Eudora averaged about 12 minutes to 15 minutes.

Eudora EMS crews respond to about 30 calls per month, Vigneron said.

Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug said he would arrange a meeting among all the parties within the next few weeks and work to resolve any issues.

"What's probably at the core more than anything else is that there is sometimes a natural friction between volunteer departments and full-time departments," Weinaug said. "Those issues are going to come up, but you just have to work them out because we definitely need both types of services."

Journal-World staff writer Chad Lawhorn contributed to this report.


Lonestar1 11 years, 12 months ago

If the Eudora "volunteer EMS' has the same training, credentials and license, as the paid EMS in Lawrence, there is no reason to limit what treatment, they can provide. Being a volunteer does not effect skill levels. If they are not trained as well, what are the Lawrence supervisors doing to fix the problem? Is this an issue of health and safety or about Lawrence being the BIG DOG in Douglas County?

leavemealone 11 years, 12 months ago

I find it amazing that Vigneron doesn't know if his crews can give certain meds. He is their director, shouldn't he know before he makes such a claim?

pity2bu 11 years, 12 months ago

Let Eudora be its own entity, not under the direction of the Medical Boys of Lawrence, and that's Heavy emphasis on Medical, rather than FIRE.

Michael Stanclift 11 years, 12 months ago

I know I'd feel more comfortable being treated by LDCFM staff vs Eudora EMS, but that's just me.

bytheway 11 years, 12 months ago

Having worked with LDCFM for over five years in medical coordination of their crews, I would honestly say I would much rather be treated by LDCFM than volunteers, but that doesn't mean they aren't qualified. For myself, it is preference. Regarding the volunteer situation and wanting autonomy from LDCFM I think it would hurt Eudora to lose that connection. LDCFM runs a smooth department from what I can tell. I know politics seems to always get in the way, but I think it should also be noted that the gentleman who is in charge of the department in Eudora didn't even quite know the certification level of the volunteers. I would hope the volunteers are at least half way qualified. I seriously doubt, but I could be wrong, that any of the volunteers in Eudora are even trained to the maximum level of LDCFM. But remember this is all my opinion.

wildmanfd 11 years, 12 months ago

I dont remember reading in the article where it says the director doesnt know what meds can be administered, Also Eudora ems has first responders,EMT-B,and EMT-I. Furthermore there are no regulations by law that says if your a volunteer EMS service that you cant do certain things just because you are a volunteer service. The issue I believe is that the responders are not being allowed to work within their full scope of practice for what the individual is certified to do and that my friends is a violation of their own certification. A violation forced upon them by the money hungry LDCF&M. I believe Eudora EMS is probably one of the busiest in this area maybe even in the State of Kansas. I also dont remember reading where it says the Director didnt know what the certifications of the members of his department has. I am willing to bet he knows exactly what each individual is capable of doing. In short it is all about money if LDCF&M controls all that goes on in Douglas county they get more money but I am willing to bet that they have under estimated the knowledge that the "volunteers" of Eudora EMS have obtained. concerning the issues at hand.

leavemealone 11 years, 11 months ago

Just curious, wildmanfd, why do you call LDCFM 'money hungry?' Also my comment about the meds was that he made a comment that seemed out of place for someone that was wanting to take over a EMS system for a city. Usually if you are making a pitch for something, you have your ducks in a row and a complete picture of everything.

docpattum 11 years, 11 months ago

I have lived in Eudora for several years now. I follow the stories of the local Eudora Fire Dept,Eudora Township Fire Dept. and the local Eudora Emergency Medical Service. First of all, let me tell everyone of the men and women that make up all three of these departments "THANKS" for being the rare people of the country that will VOLUNTEER their time to bandage a cut finger, do chest compressions on a person having a heart attack, put out a grass fire or be brave enough to walk into a burning building and check for bodies and put the fire out. Thanks for volunteering your time. I could not do it. In a earlier posting "bytheway" stated that he doubts that any of the volunteers in Eudora are even trained to the maximum level of LDCFM.The reason that is a good bet is due to the fact that a person that "volunteer's" their time most likely will not spend all of the money and time that it takes to become a paramedic. Remember, this is a group of volunteer's. This is not their "job" like it is for LDCFM. I have kept an eye on the local volunteer services here in the Eudora. It appears to me that there are some volunteers on the fire departments that join just to get the t-shirts or hats to wear around. There are others that you will see training, washing, cleaning and even painting. They are your true volunteers. On the EEMS, sometimes you would think that there is only two or three members because it appears that the same two or three members show up to every emergency. Just to confirm, I have spoken with one of the members and she said that there are 10 members of EEMS. Once again, as an outsider, I know which ones are your true volunteers. After reading the articals and speaking with a member of EEMS, I think that people might be misunderstanding what the director is asking for. I don't think that he is asking for LDCFM to not work in Eudora, what he is asking for is for Eudora to hire a full time EMT or paramedic. By doing this, it will help in reducing the time before patient care is given. LDCFM admitted that it takes between 12 and 15 minutes for them to arrive to a call here in Eudora. I am not for sure but I think that in the medical field, the first hour of emergency care is called the "Golden Hour". If it takes 15 minutes for LDCFM to respond to a call, the first quarter (25%) of that golden hour is gone. I think this is why the EEMS director is asking for the city to step in. If LDCFM will not allow EEMS members to work within their scope of training (breathing treatments, monitoring glucose levels, etc.), I think it is in the best interest of the people for Eudora to hire a full time, trained paramedic. Good luck to EEMS and thanks to members of LDCFM that do respect the volunteer members of EEMS. One last question. When was the last time that LDCFM had some type of dinner or gathering for ALL of the volunteers of Douglas county, just to say "thanks".

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