No Paramedics in Vermillion County

CAYUGA, Ind. - Accidents happen. And when they do, we look to our first responders for help.

But you may be surprised to know that the level of care those first responders can provide could be very different, depending on where you live.

All but one of the Wabash Valley counties are staffed with paramedics. Vermillion County is the odd one out.

Vermillion County is part of a minority when it comes to medical emergency services. The county currently uses a private organization that is not licensed to staff paramedics.

"Vermillion County Ambulance Service is what they call 'basic emergency medical services', and they are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year," said Meredith Addison, a registered nurse in the county.

But that contract will soon be up, which is why some medical professionals are urging county officials to consider bringing paramedics to Vermillion County.

"With their BLS (basic level service) in this county, they've done a tremendous job, but there is a level of care that we need specifically in this county that I think that all of the constituents need to know about," Jarred Rankin, a paramedic from Vermillion County, said.

Rankin works as a paramedic in Terre Haute, but that's only because his hometown doesn't provide the service. "If they were to hire paramedics I could absolutely work here as a paramedic, and I would love to. I would love to come back to my roots where I'm from, and where my priorities are, and my family lives here."

Not all residents are on board with the idea of licensing their emergency services up to the paramedic level. One man says it undermines the EMTs they already have. "This makes me feel like you guys are downgrading the guys we have."

Supporters say it's not the quality of care that's in question. Rather it's about the need to provide a higher level of care in emergency situations.

"In the case of an accident, being able to support their blood pressure with IV fluids, being able to treat their pain, making sure that we can control their airway if we need to is very important, and I think it's life-saving," Rankin added.

Making the switch to having licensed paramedics on their emergency staff would cost the county more money, but for now they're still talking options.

No voting or decisions will take place for a while.

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