July 24, 2014
FORT DRUM, NY—Medical care for soldiers on Fort Drum could change dramatically under a plan proposed by the Department of the Army. Currently, Guilfoyle Ambulance Services Inc., provides emergency medical response treatment and ground transport for soldiers training on Fort Drum.
The new proposal will instead use Army medics to care for soldiers training on the ranges. Should they require transport off the base, community 911 emergency responders would meet the Army medics at the base entrance, but only after they are dispatched by a call to 911. Previously, the EMTs and paramedics of Guilfoyle Ambulance would transport a soldier directly from the base to the proper medical facility. The new plan will cost valuable time resulting from the patient’s transfer from one ambulance to another.
“The Army’s plan, which will prolong patient care, is not the answer,” said Service Employees International Union Local 200United representative David Palmer. “Especially for our soldiers.” SEIU Local 200United represents Guilfoyle’s medical personnel.
In addition to the detrimental effect to patient care, the Army’s plan will result in seven layoffs of the highly trained, professional staff at Guilfoyle. Off-base emergency medical technicians are volunteers and a paramedic doesn’t always accompany the 911 calls, which could also hinder patient care.
Guilfoyle Ambulance Service has had the contract to provide emergency transport at Fort Drum for at least 10 years. “The goal with EMT transport is to get to the patient and then get to patient to a higher level of care—the hospital—and the sooner the better,” Palmer said. “It’s important that if the patient’s condition is serious, one that needs immediate care, transferring is not the way to go.”
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