County pursuing emergency aid for Dinosaur

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Karen Burley, president of the Maybell Ambulance Service, is taking the lead in helping the Dinosaur Ambulatory Service meet the qualifications necessary to be able to transport patients.

Right now the service, consisting of local volunteers, is a response team that can only respond and provide initial support in emergency situations, but can not transport patients in need of hospitalization. Burley's assistance comes at the urging of Carla Roloff, a volunteer emergency medical technician in Dinosaur.

She and other volunteer EMTs responded to a call for a heart attack victim in Dinosaur last week.

The EMTs provided initial CPR support to the man, but could not transport him to Rangely Hospital because they are not certified to do so.

The man died while waiting for the ambulance service from Rangely to arrive, which Roloff said took 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Bob Garrison, administrator at Rangely Hospital, said the ambulance service was sent out as soon as the call came over dispatch.

"That doesn't coincide with the information I've received," he said when asked if it took more than an hour for services to arrive.

Regardless of how long it took the ambulance to get there, Burley said the solution lies in helping Dinosaur get a physician advisor, which would enable them to transport patients.

"They're doing a good job out there just to be doing something," she said.

"They've been making real good progress."

Because of the work Burley has done with the Maybell Ambulance Service, she said she would be able to assist in helping Dinosaur get accredited.

"I'm going to meet with Dinosaur EMTs to help them become a transport agency and help them work through that," she said. "This will be the catalyst for Dinosaur being able to transport patients instead of just being an emergency response team. You have to know what you're doing in order to go out and obtain that."

Roloff had said she was under the impression that it would cost $2,500 to get a physician advisor through Rangely District Hospital, but Burley said this might not be true.

"It's my understanding that someone told them that's what it would cost," she said. "They never actually pursued getting a physician advisor."

The EMTs in Dinosaur are frustrated after their experience last week, Burley said, which is understandable.

"The feeling of helplessness these EMTs are feeling is so overwhelming," she said. "It's very hard."

Moffat County Commissioner T. Wright Dickinson, whose district includes Dinosaur, said the Rangely District Hospital had requested money from Moffat County in 1998 to assist in the finances of servicing Dinosaur residents.

Dickinson said research is being conducted on how much money Moffat County agreed to pay, but said he thought it was about $10,000 in 1998 and 1999.

Dickinson said the county asked for justification on where the dollars were being spent and did not get any feedback in 2000 at which time the county stopped paying the hospital.

"We asked for justification but weren't getting any," Dickinson said.

Garrison said the funding from Moffat County has no impact on the service the Rangely District Hospital provides to Dinosaur.

"That's not an issue with us," he said. "We're here to serve Dinosaur."

Dickinson said the main issue right now is that Dinosaur meets the requirements to transport patients.

"It's unfortunate it took a tragedy to galvanize this," Dickinson said. "We definitely need to get them certified as a transport agency but there's a whole set of legalities and requirements that have to be met."

Dickinson said he understood the concerns of the Dinosaur EMTs.

"It's unfortunate when things like this happen," he said.

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