Utopia' System Aids Injured in 10 Parishes
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Wednesday, June 10, 1981 'Utopia' system aids injured in 10 parishes By BOBBY LAMB Of The Times Staff When a critically injured or ill patient heads for a hospital in Northwest Louisiana, information concerning that patient and his con-dition will likely beat him to the emergency room. It's all part of a communications network spread across 10 parishes that links ambulances to hospitals via a system of mobile radios and telephones. The $300,000-plus com-munications system has been in operation for about a month and was formally unveiled in Bossier City Tuesday by the Emergency Medical Services Foundation of Northwest Louisiana. Dr. Rel Gray, president of EMS, said the communications system means "better and faster care to the critically injured patient," though a few bugs need ironing out yet. Martha Wheless, an EMS board member and director of the American Heart Association, called the system the "Utopia" of several years work by EMS in cooperation with various government bodies, or-ganizations and individuals. The Motorola-installed system is the beginning of an ideal goal that would result in on-the-scene treat-ment of trauma patients by paramedics receiving directions from hospital-based physicians. "I think they'll get there," Gray said of the advanced life-support system, possibly within two years. "Once you've got that you've got the com-plete system," Gray said. L.S. McKenzie, program director, said 24 emergency vehicles in the region are equipped with 30-watt mobile radios. Eleven base station towers, many atop hospitals, dot Northwest Louisiana. One in DeSoto is not in operation but should be working within the month. "If you can use a telephone, you can use this system," McKenzie said. In an emergency an ambulance attendant, using the ambulance-based mobile radio, can hone in on the nearest base station. Each sta-tion has its own three-letter code, usually tied to its location. Through his radio and the base station, the attendant can patch into the Bell telephone system and dial anyone, anytime, anywhere. "If it's got a telephone, you can get to it," Gray said. Each base station is coded with six preset phone numbers, three of which include the LSU Medical Center's emergency room, Poison Control Center at LSU and the Schumpert emergency room, all in Shreveport. The other three automatic numbers vary at each base station and are more local. The system has the capability for three-way conference calls, for ex-ample, connecting the ambulance to the hospital to a doctor at home. The attendant using the com-munications network can warn a hospital that a patient is en route and (Times graphic) Dots show base station locations. relay vital information to waiting physicians. The hospital in turn can inform the ambulance if another medical facility is better equipped to handle that patient's injuries. Base stations are at North Caddo Hospital in Vivian, LSU Medical Center and Schumpert in Shreveport; Community Hospital in Springhill; Minden Medical Center in Webster; North Claiborne Hospital in Haynesville; Bienville Hospital in Arcadia; Lincoln General Hospital in Ruston; Natchitoches Parish Hospital; Mansfield Industrial Park in DeSoto; and a wooded area near Many in Sabine. The system in Northwest Louisiana will be linked to similar systems in Northeast and Central Louisiana, officials said. "It's real important on the border areas that you're compatible," Gray said. From an accident scene midway between two towns in different districts, an ambulance attendant can determine through the linked communications systems which town has the needed facility. EMS of Northwest Louisiana was formed in 1976 by federal mandate to establish a regional medical system that provides fast and im-proved care to tJe critically injured. Now that at least part of the mission has been accomplished, Gray said EMS is "lookine at a period of re-lative inactivityt" The goal for the organization is to establish an advanced life-support system in which critical patients could receive on-the-spot medical treatment th; t is directed by hospital-based physicians. That means personnel with advanced training — intermediate level emergency medical technicians or paramedics --- are needed aboard the emergence vehicles. Gray said lit will be up to the ambulance companies and municipalities running ambulances to hire advanced personnel. "They've been going at it very slow-ly, deliberately," Gray said. "Of course, advanced personnel take a lot more money," he said. Once ad-vanced personnel are on board, EMS can becomeactive in seeking federal monies for support equipment. "In the rneantime, we're turning it (the systerm) over to the localities," he said.
|Title||Utopia' System Aids Injured in 10 Parishes|
Emergency Medical Services System
McKenzie, L. S.
|Identifier||See reference URL on the navigation bar.|
|Source||Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport Medical Library (http://lib.sh.lsuhsc.edu)|
|Coverage-Spatial||Shreveport (Caddo, La.)|
|Rights||Physical rights are retained by Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.|