Dear Editor,

Thank you so much for your news article regarding the lady not being able to find emergency medical help in the middle of the night. It was especially nice to see it on the Front Page of the last issue. Houston and Chickasaw does have a very serious problem. I knew this would happen, now it has, but it’s too late to save that young lady’s life.

Can you or anyone imagine knocking on doors in the middle of the night seeking medical help? Her family, I pray and feel for them. The horror and terror they experienced. A very young lady, it wasn’t supposed to happen to her or anyone. Care should be more readily available than it is in our county and hometown.

There are no fulltime hospitals in our county. Have your questioned Trace Regional why they closed their emergency department?

This could have been your family, do you ever think about what you would do in the middle of the night?

Citizens, let’s do something about this now. Trace Regional must provide and maintain a 24-hour emergency department. When they closed it, I always wondered why the hospital signs were left up in front of it and on the Natchez Trace directing motorists on the Trace who might need urgent medical care to Houston. It could mean valuable lost time if they come to Houston.

So who’s to blame for the loss of life? Could it be the supervisors and/or the lack of an emergency department. Of course we know ambulances can all get calls and are unavailable to come 20-miles from Okolona or another county, also too late to help anyone.

Paramedic are very valuable and highly skilled and as we know, doctors do not make house calls now. But they can be spread out, by having only two ambulances in this county. I worked as director of ambulances at Houston Hospital Inc., for Dr. John Dyer in the 70s for 11 years and we always had two ambulances in Houston and there were two ambulances in Okolona.

By getting to this patient much sooner, two lives could have been saved. A paramed could have started an I.V. with asthma relieving drugs or by administering the drugs by an I.V. push. Should the patient stop breathing, an endotracheal tube could be put in to breath for her and put asthma meds directly into her lungs.

Of course the paramedic doesn’t openly practice medicine, there’s medical control who oversees their procedures and actually gives the orders. Here this is probably from a doctor at North Mississippi Medical Center.

Stressing again the paramedic must be able to get to the patient as quickly as possible.

It’s well past time to get something changed. If you agree with me, join in. Talk to Trace Regional, your supervisors or contract the Mississippi State Board of Health Emergency Medical Services Division at 601-576-7400, P.O. Box 1700, Jackson, MS 39215. Also North Mississippi EMS Authority, 844-5870, South Spring St., Tupelo, MS 38802.

Thanks for your attention and concern.

How am I qualified to present this to you?

I trained as a paramedic at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Also working with the Birmingham Fire Department and spending many hours in extensive training as a fire medic. I was employed with the City of Orange Beach, Ala., for 25 years.

I never go to sleep at night without knowing I have enough gas in my car to make it to West Point Emergency Department or if we can get to Baptist Hospital in Columbus.

Henry Weir, Jr.

Chickasaw County, Miss.

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