New ambulance will help save lives

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By Molly Haines

Beginning Thursday, the citizens of Owen County will be able to rest a little bit easier when the Advanced Life Support ambulance begins making runs.

The ALS ambulance will be equipped with the tools to administer medication and other life -saving measures. The ambulance will also have paramedics on board.

Owen County was one of four county’s in the state lacking an ALS ambulance.

The Owen County Fiscal Court approved increases to the ambulance budget in June to provide enough money for the county to go ALS.

Owen County EMT Kevin Luther said getting ALS established in the county had been a long process, but one that would benefit the citizens.

“It’s been an ongoing thing for two-plus years hot and heavy,” Luther said. “It’s definitely going to be an advantage to the county though. It will be another tool to go with the specialty care we already provide.”

Owen County Judge-Executive Carolyn Keith said during the budget process that she believed the ALS ambulance would improve the likelihood of reaching a patient and beginning the treatment process before the situation could worsen.

“Because we are so large geographically, it will benefit the lives of patients who live out at the furthest points of our county,” Keith said. “The paramedics on board will be able to do so much more than the EMT, which could save the patient’s life.”

Luther said two additional full-time employees were hired, along with four to five part-time.

A LifePak 12 cardiac monitor, which will be used in the ALS ambulance, was donated by New Horizons.

Luther said because of the ALS ambulance, Owen countians will be able to feel more eat ease.

“It’s going to improve the stature of our health care in Owen County and better the outcome of the patient,” Luther said.

Luther said getting this goal accomplished in Owen County could not have been reached without the help of the community and county government officials.

“It has really been a community effort. If it weren’t for the county judge-executive and her staff, (and) Dr. Larry Johnson, Bernie Poe, Janet Wright and the staff at New Horizons, this never would have happened.”