Hospital at Odds with Ambulance Service

By Camaron Abundes
NewsWest 9

Ft. Stockton, Texas- A shortage of workers forced Ft. Stockton EMS to halt out of town transfers beginning in May. The crew of twelve needs to fill at least four slots to have enough staff to resume the necessary transfers. City officials say they authorized a pay increase to lure prospective applicants and they have seen an influx of applications.

But getting crews back on the road will take time to screen and train applicants, and Pecos County Memorial Hospital CEO Russell Tippin, says he is happy they are taking the first step.

"We've had a significant delay trying to get patients to a high level of care. We are a trauma four regional facility, so there are only certain types of services we can provide here," said Tippin.

One Local resident knows how critical an out of town transport can be, her father was badly injured this week when a car struck the family home, during a barbecue Sunday.

"He was over there, turning the meat over and he saw that happening and he got hit," said Bianca Ramirez, who says her father pushed his granddaughter out of the way before getting hit.

Ramirez's says her fathers injuries were serious enough to warrant a ground transport to Odessa but because Ft. Stockton doesn't offer transports she was forced to find alternate transportation.

"We thought it was critical enough for them to take him. What if it had been worse," said Ramirez.

"There is an order written that the patient qualified for ground transport," said Director of Nursing Jim Horton.

Without ground transport out of Ft. Stockton the only options left are CareStar or waiting on an ambulance crew from Odessa.

EMS Director Shanna Worthington told Newswest Nine they need to hire at least four new EMT's to start offering out of town transfers and they are receiving an influx of applications.