MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Some ambulance services are currently unavailable in Crittenden County.
Crittenden EMS is a private ambulance company, and right now it doesn’t have a certified medical director.
“That’s very scary,” said Pat Darby, a resident of Crittenden County. “I mean, I would want to know that that was one of the things that are available to do that.”
Crittenden EMS is not operating at full capacity right now because the medical director resigned recently for personal reasons. Now the ambulance company that serves rural residents is not licensed to perform certain services, like administering life-saving drugs to a person who had a heart attack, for instance.
Paramedics would instead have to call West Memphis, which has its own ambulance service.
“I actually had to use the paramedics a while back, and if they wouldn’t have been able to use the things I needed it would have been really bad for me,” said Louis Edwards, resident of Crittenden County. “I could have lost my life.”
An ambulance service needs a medical director with a DEA license to order drugs and set up protocols for their use.
“Let me assure West Memphis, they are protected,” said West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon. “The issues that may be going on over there have absolutely nothing to do with West Memphis."
McClendon says his fire department just purchased three new ambulances, bringing their total to seven. He wants to help Crittenden EMS.
“I’m hoping whatever they may be going through is taken care of, and we can all make sure the entire county is taken care of,” said McClendon.
We talked with Crittenden EMS Director Hudson Hallum who said a new medical director from Little Rock was hired with the required DEA license. Hallum says the ambulance service is now waiting for the state to perform an inspection, which could come next week.