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‘Critical’ condition: County needs ambulances

<i>WNEM</i><br/>Bruce Trevithick is the executive director of the Genesee County Medical Control Authority
Bruce Trevithick is the executive director of the Genesee County Medical Control Authority

By Mike Herek

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    SAGINAW, Michigan (WNEM) — Genesee County has an ambulance shortage that is being described as “critical.”

“We have, for a long period of time, had problems with shortages with EMS units in the county,” said Bruce Trevithick, executive director of the Genesee County Medical Control Authority, the oversight agency for all county EMS.

Trevithick said that during the past weekend, outside units had to be called in to maintain staffing levels.

“We have not had that happen in awhile. It’s been a number of months since we had to do that.”

Trevithick tells TV-5 the county was in what is called critical status, meaning it had four or less ambulances available.

“We average about four and a half hours of critical status a day,” he said.

And even though the number of available ambulances reach low points often, Trevithick believes patients need not worry their health is at risk.

“We have a number of systems in place including (advanced life support) first response through the county sheriff’s paramedics,” he said. “So they’re always available, they can respond, they can’t transport but they can stabilize patients.

“We have fire-based first response that provides that assistance in many of our communities,” Trevithick continued. “So from a patient outcome perspective, I don’t think that these shortages are having a major impact on that.”

Trevithick doesn’t see an end to this issue in sight.

“We’re seeing shortages of EMS personnel all over the country,” he said, “and lot of it has to do with the fact that it is not a high-paying job. Trying to attract new employees to the market is very difficult.”

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