DELTONA, Fla. - A serious crash in Deltona Wednesday morning was quickly responded to by Deltona EMS. The medic on scene rendered aid and was ready to transport the patient to a local hospital but was told no, according to the medic. Why? Because an agreement between Volusia County and the local fire departments says so.
"It’s just not acceptable," said Volusia County District 4 Councilwoman Heather Post.
A Facebook post by Deltona Firefighters Local 2913 describes the car crash where the medic was able to render aid and load the patient into an ambulance but was denied by Volusia County to transport.
The agreement allows County EMS as well as one Deltona EMS department to transport 24/7. Any other local fire department EMS can only transport people between 6 pm and 7:30 am.
"One of the city fire chiefs lost his job over this because he was so passionate and pushed and fought on this very subject," said Post.
The Facebook post caused a stir in the comment section. Terry Fabella says her cousin died waiting for transport because they wouldn’t let the fire department transport her to the hospital. Others called the agreement "insane" and "ridiculous"
Councilwoman Post says it all comes down to money.
"Transport is definitely a lucrative business where it seems to me like the only reason why we wouldn’t allow the cities to have their own 24-hour response," said Post.
Deltona Firefighters local 2913 tell FOX35 they stand by their post. They called the agreement dated and say they simply want more EMS crews on the road. They say County EMS doesn’t have the staff to meet demand.
"We have to start putting the protection of the public above all else this is a fine example of that not occurring," said Post.
Post says Volusia county is only one of three counties in the state that has a system like this.
"We take these matters very seriously," said a Volusia County representative in a statement. "For that reason, and in cooperation with the Deltona Fire Chief, we’re thoroughly investigating the overall handling of this incident as part of the county’s quality improvement program."
They went on to say the written interlocal agreement between the county and Deltona only provides the framework for the program and does not include the hours of operation.
"That was mutually agreed upon during verbal conversations between the city and county," says Volusia County representative.
Read the full statement sent to FOX 35 News from Gary Davidson, Volusia County Government spokesman:
"Volusia County EMS transports more than 60,000 patients annually to our area hospitals. With each and every patient encounter, our singular focus is on providing the highest level of care. In response to your inquiry, the incident in question was a multi-vehicle accident on Wednesday morning at Howland and Elkcam boulevards that was reported to dispatch at 7:47 a.m. The first Volusia County EMS ambulance unit was on scene two minutes later, at 7:49 a.m., to transport the first patient to the hospital. Deltona’s first responding unit arrived on-scene at 7:52 a.m. Two additional county ambulance units also responded to the scene to transport the remaining patients.
"We take these matters very seriously. For that reason, and in cooperation with the Deltona Fire Chief, we’re thoroughly investigating the overall handling of this incident as part of the county’s quality improvement program. I’d be happy to send you a copy of the interlocal agreement between the county and Deltona regarding the city’s participation in our municipal transport program. However, the document merely establishes the framework for the program and doesn’t address the hours of operation. That was mutually agreed upon during verbal conversations between the city and county.
"Lastly, I just wanted to apologize for the delay in getting this to you. We would have liked to have gotten this to you sooner, and with more detail. However, our staff has been working diligently all day on this inquiry and will continue into next week. Consequently, we’re not able to say any more until all of the facts are ascertained and confirmed."
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