Lexington EMS’ bypass of new hospital short-lived

jholleman@thestate.comMarch 28, 2014 

Patients picked up in the Dutch Fork area by Lexington County Emergency Medical Service in recent days have zipped past the new Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge Hospital emergency room on the way to Lexington Medical Center.

The bypass of the more convenient hospital was a result of the ambulance service’s staff being unfamiliar with the new facility. That should end in less than a week, according to Lexington EMS spokesman Brian Hood.

Palmetto Health officials believe the problem could have been avoided. All local EMS agencies were invited to a special open house for emergency personnel at Parkridge on March 3, said Palmetto Health spokeswoman Tammie Epps. Lexington County EMS didn’t attend.

Epps said Parkridge’s emergency department nurse manager also reached out to Lexington County EMS before the hospital opened on March 19. Officials from Lexington County EMS did tour the Parkridge emergency facilities Thursday.

The services’ ambulance workers in the next few days will be shown a video taken during Thursday’s tour to clarify their route for dropping off patients, Hood said.

Lexington County EMS didn’t want to take patients to Parkridge “until we had a full understanding of what Parkridge’s capabilities are,” Hood said.

Richland County EMS has been bringing patients to Parkridge since it opened its doors, Epps said.

There’s no indication the additional 5-10 minutes for the trip past Parkridge to Lexington Medical Center caused any problems.

In one case, the family of a child injured at Crooked Creek Park in Chapin asked for him to be taken to Parkridge on Wednesday night but was told by the ambulance staff they had to go to Lexington, according to the boy’s uncle, Bill Rogers.

The boy’s injuries weren’t life-threatening, but Rogers wondered what would have happened if they had been.

Most life-threatening injuries would bypass either Parkridge or Lexington Medical Center to go to Palmetto Health Richland, which as the only Level 1 trauma center in the Midlands is staffed and equipped to best handle the most serious cases.

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