Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Marlo Pronovost, SCN editor/general manager

Editor's Desk

It can happen to you

You don’t think it will ever happen to you.
I certainly didn’t.
And then one Saturday night three years ago, there I was in the Stillwater Billings Clinic ER in severe pain that would not go away.
An x-ray and CT scan provided the answer that neither me nor my husband saw coming — intestinal blockage, internal bleeding and an Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulance ride to a Billings hospital for possible immediate surgery.
At age 44, from fine to life threatening in the blink of an eye.
And in the hands of our local healthcare providers and Columbus Fire Rescue ALS ambulance crew.
Lucky for me — and more than 98 other people that year and more than 286 since — that ALS service is in place. Without it, I would have had to wait until an AMR ambulance from Billings could come to get me. Or possibly even HELP flight. But that transport was not delayed.
In all fairness, the cost of the care was not something of which I was cognitively aware as I rode in back of that ambulance, with an IV, a nasal/gastric tube and a paramedic pumping pain medication into me.
But it’s certainly something I think about now as the future of our local ALS service is threatened.
Grants that currently fund a total of five paramedic and advanced MET conditions at Columbus Fire Rescue will be gone at the end of this year. As a means of replacing that funding mechanism, taxpayers are being asked to approve or reject the proposed Stillwater Ambulance District in a mail ballot that should start arriving in mailboxes this week.
It’s easy to see both sides. Yes, it will mean an additional tax for something that you might never have to use. But what if you or a loved one or a friend suddenly do need it? I, for one, am willing to pay a little extra every year to make sure ALS service is there for everyone.