Ambulance squads are kept busy in our state, especially in western North Dakota.
Carla Burbidge has this week's Eye on Health.
Many of North Dakotas ambulance squads are comprised of volunteers, and in many cases those volunteers face challenges. In the oil impacted areas of North Dakota, call volumes for ambulances have increased as much as 3 or 400 percent.
(Ed Gregoire, State EMS Coordinator) "We are in somewhat of a crisis, volunteers have a hard time handling this, we are headed toward a severe situation."
What are we doing about the crisis? New technology is one thing. At Trinity, officials announced a few days ago that they a new system called LifeBot. Physicians in the ER can view and diagnose patients on the scene. A remote devise like this is fitted in the ambulance. This technology is the beginning of a process of improving care in N.D.
(Ed Gregoire, State EMS Coordinator) "In the next few months technology is going to grow leaps and bounds, not only ambulances, but rural clinics and long term care facilities will benefit greatly when a physician at the hospital can help them."
Another step is asking state law-makers to put more money into rural ambulances. Although money alone isn't the answer.
(Ed Gregoire, State EMS Coordinator) "We are looking at setting up a standard of care for all ambulances, we have to do that to avoid a crisis."
For Eye on Health I'm Carla Burbidge