Carla Roloff, a volunteer emergency medical technician in Dinosaur, said Tuesday a man who died last week might have been saved if the community had better emergency services in place.
A Dinosaur resident died of a heart attack on the side of the road Thursday while waiting for emergency vehicles to arrive from Rangely District Hospital.
Roloff said Jack Riggan was not feeling well and called to make an appointment at the hospital in Rangely, which is a half-hour drive from Dinosaur.
He and his wife left their home to go to Rangely District Hospital, but the man began feeling ill and pulled over to let his wife drive, Roloff said.
It was then that he collapsed at the side of the road.
The Dinosaur Ambulance reported to the scene manned by local volunteer EMTs.
Roloff said the EMTs provided CPR to the man for an hour and 10 minutes until the Rangely ambulance arrived at the scene.
By then it was too late, she said.
Because the Dinosaur Ambulance service is voluntary and does not have an agreement with a physician advisor, it is not certified to transport patients, she said.
"All we can do is go to a situation and do everything we can to keep them alive until Rangely can get here," she said. "That isn't right. Without a physician advisor we are nothing but a lay person at an emergency."
With a physician advisor the volunteer ambulatory service could have taken the man to the hospital itself, and could have used an automatic external defibrillator machine, which might have saved the man's life.
But without a physician advisor, the service is not certified to use an AED machine.
Roloff said the Moffat County Sheriff's Department and the Craig Police Department have both offered to loan AED machines to Dinosaur.
"Without a physician advisor, I think we would be breaking the law by using it," she said. "But I
would have taken that chance Thursday."
Roloff said the possibility of having a physician advisor from Rangely has been explored, but the hospital said it would cost $2,500 a year money that the volunteer department does not have.
The job of a physician advisor is simply to put a protocol in place for the ambulance service and nine out of 10 times, Roloff said, they would not have to contact the physician when they respond to emergency situations.
Something needs to be done, she said.
"We go out of our way to serve the community," she said. "Then we have something occur like Thursday where we can't. The solution lies in getting a physician advisor and an AED. "
Roloff said she doesn't want to see a repeat of what happened Thursday, she said.
"We did everything we could with what we had to work with," she said. "I believe the man deserved a better chance than what he got."