The Augusta Chronicle, Ga.
In the last month Gold Cross has invested nearly $1 million dollars in Jefferson County by replacing its two primary ambulances with brand new models.
The new trucks, one stationed in Louisville, the other in Wrens, are F-350 chassis with new, upgraded stretchers that offer an integrated patient transport and loading system and new equipment.
“We’re proud of our new truck,” said paramedic Capt. Mary Sasser.
Gold Cross’ Director of Business Development Michael Meyers said that his company is excited about providing the new equipment to their Jefferson County paramedics.
“At Gold Cross we believe in not only having the best employees but the best equipment as well,” Meyers said. “This shows the level of commitment we have to Jefferson County.”
Sasser, who has been a paramedic in the area for many years and worked with several different emergency service providers, said that she has been very pleased with Gold Cross’ attention to the needs of both their employees and the patients they serve.
“People think things are slower out here in a rural community, but it’s no different than being in a big city. The problem is the distance,” Sasser said. “It is 47 miles from here (at Jefferson Hospital, where Gold Cross houses its Louisville ambulance) to AU (Augusta University Medical Center). And then it’s 47 miles back.”
It is not unusual for an ambulance run in Jefferson County to be more than 100 miles start to stop. And Gold Cross averages around 250 calls per month.
During the height of the COVID pandemic, when it was hard to find a bed for many ventilated patients, Sasser said they had to take one patient as far as Valdosta. That was a 360-mile round trip.
“We feel like we can get in any of our trucks and go and not have to worry about making it or the truck breaking down,” Sasser said.
She is particularly impressed with the new patient transport and loading system in the new ambulances.
“The old time stretchers, you had to lift them in. There were a lot of back injuries (for paramedics),” she said. “It took two people because you had the weight of the stretcher and the weight of the patient, the weight of your equipment.”
And then all of that had to lifted into the back of the ambulance, several feet off of the ground.
“This does all of that for you,” Sasser said and demonstrated by removing the stretcher that adjusts for the height and can be steered and driven by one medic. “Before you had to be careful with how big the people were and might have to add another piece to the stretcher.”
Sasser folded down portions of the new stretcher, expanding it to show how it can accommodate a variety of patient body sizes.
“This is a back saver and it serves more patients,” Sasser said. “There are several other mechanisms to it. It will walk up a porch so you don’t have to pick it up and lift it up there. This is an updated version of the stretchers we have had. We love it.”
The stretchers also lock into the center of the rear compartment, where the old stretchers were set to one side. This new arrangement allows room for more emergency personnel to have access to work on a patient simultaneously.
Meyers said that everything about the new ambulances have been upgraded, including the addition of monitors, ventilators and a security camera system in both the rear and cab of the vehicle.
“It offers a level of security, not just for us, but also for the patient,” Meyers said. “We want people to feel safe. When they are back here they are in their most vulnerable state and so it’s important. Overall, we really just want our people to have the best equipment so they can provide the best care to this community.”
(c)2021 The Augusta Chronicle (Augusta, Ga.)
Visit The Augusta Chronicle (Augusta, Ga.) at chronicle.augusta.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.