What a busy time of year throughout the land.

Family and friends are attending many gatherings, enjoying multiple visits and just as many meals. No one ever wants to take time out to disrupt the scheduled activities. However, sometimes waiting too long could have lasting effects.

Just as the world still turns, the phones still ring. Inside dispatch this afternoon, there are three dispatchers that have taken many calls. Here are a few examples of the calls where the patients may have waited a little bit too long, before asking for help.

Tyler, Hope and Barb are on duty as the phones ring…

Tyler: “9-1-1, where is your emergency?

Caller: “I may need help to the doctor. I am not feeling very well. Can they just come and let me know what I should do?”

Tyler: “I can send an ambulance to check you out if you like. Tell me your address.”

Tyler was able to talk with the caller, Sherri, a 62-year-old. He obtained her address and phone number.

Sherri: “I was not feeling well yesterday, I just had a dull ache in my back and jaw area. But family was here, and I just ignored it so we could have a good visit and dinner. My grandkids are just adorable. Today I woke up and have not felt well all day. I do not think I am able to drive, and this pain just will not go away.”

Tyer: “Sherri, my partner is sending and ambulance and first responders to help you. I do      have some questions while they are doing so.”   

Medical crews arrived and were able to check out, Sherri. Due to her condition and living an extended distance away from the hospital, a helicopter was called in to fly her.

Hope: “9-1-1, Where is your emergency?

Caller: “I am here at home; I am not doing well at all.”

Hope was able to get the address, phone number and name of the caller, Frank a 44-year-old. She could tell from the way he was talking that he was not breathing well. 

Hope: “Frank, do you have any pain anywhere?”

Frank: “Yes, my chest and arm. Yesterday I was just nauseous and a little tired. My family was here, we built snowmen and my nephews helped me stack the extra firewood. They are just the best, twin eight-year-olds. We had a great visit and a        fantastic meal. I didn’t want to miss their visit, so I tried to ignore not feeling well. They went home last night; today I have not felt any better. I believe it is much worse. I decided to stay home and rest while my wife and daughter went to deliver some gifts.”

An ambulance was dispatched for Frank. Hope was able to talk with him and provided instructions to help until the medical crew arrived. Frank had thought maybe just some indigestion from the great meals they had, and maybe a pulled muscle from stacking the firewood. He believed he was too young for anything serious. Once medical personnel were with and transported Frank, it was determined he indeed have a serious heart condition.

Barb: “9-1-1, Where is your emergency?

Caller: “We are here at my mom’s house for family dinner. Can someone come and check her out? She is not feeling the best but refuses to go to the hospital. She says she is fine, but she just does not look well at all. She has been cooking for a few days and says she is just tired.

Barb was able to ask other questions, including address and phone number. This was a 72-year-old, diabetic with no other medical history.

Caller: “Get them here now! She just passed out!”

Barb: “We have help on the way, I am going to give you some instructions to help her.”

The ambulance arrived seven minutes after the call rang into dispatch. Barb was able to obtain vital information including the patient’s blood sugar reading from the family. The responding crew was informed of all the changes regarding the patient by, radio from dispatch.

These three scenarios are only a small glimpse of the amount of calls dispatch will answer during any given day. As our lives become busier with trying to fit all the family, meals, work, meetings and visits into a scheduled box, it is very import not to ignore those little nagging symptoms. Many times a year dispatch hears “I should have called sooner.”

I encourage you not to keep putting those symptoms off, call your family doctor or be checked out at the first sign that something is not right.

As you gather with your loved ones this season remember all the responders that are spending the time answering your call. Texas County you have some of the most dedicated first responders including but not limited to, EMS, police, fire and the first voice you hear during your emergency – the true heroes with a calm voice, dispatch.

Merry Christmas!

The Texas County Emergency Services office in Houston is funded by a 3/8-cent countywide sales tax approved by voters in 2013. Director Terra Culley can be reached by phone at 417-967-5309 or by email at terraculley911@hotmail.com.

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