Hospitals across the state are at or near capacity, and it’s affecting ambulance response times. During a meeting with the Harrison County Board of Supervisors Monday, AMR Regional Director Dwayne Tullos explained what’s happening.
“Between the number of people driving to the hospital because they may have a cough, or something like that, especially with the surge we have with COVID. With the number of private arrivals along with the ambulance arrivals, the waiting rooms are full. The hospitals are doing everything they can do to try to free up beds. But at the end of the day, the system just gets backed up.”
Tullos says there are other contributing factors, including being short staffed. Singing River Health Systems CEO Lee Bond recently told SuperTalk Mississippi there are 2-thousand less nurses in our state this year than last. Tullos says this isn’t just happening in Mississippi, the EMS industry as a whole is facing these kinds of challenges nationwide.
Biloxi Police said AMR was called 964 times in July; the Biloxi Fire Department reported a dozen instances where AMR failed to respond. The Police Department noted three dozen instances where the response was 30 minutes or more, including two emergency responses that took more than an hour.
AMR leaders said the company planned to hire 13 new first-responders and would continue recruitment efforts. The new workers are expected to be on hand in two to four weeks, AMR said.
“The average response time for July is 25 minutes,” Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich said during the meeting. “We’ve got to figure out a solution.”
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