Cuba City EMS suspends service after failure to respond to emerg - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Cuba City EMS suspends service after failure to respond to emergency call

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CUBA CITY (WKOW) -- Cuba City currently has no EMS service following an incident last month where the rescue squad was unable to respond to a 911 call of a possible stroke victim because of a lack of trained volunteers.

Police Chief Terry Terpstra says a backup crew from Platteville responded Sept. 21 just before eleven a.m, and took the victim to a hospital, with the 75-man dying three days later.

Terpstra says the death was not the result of the brief delay in ambulance response.  He says the victim's condition went unreported for several days, until a visiting family member placed the 911 call. 

"But to the family, yeah, we are sorry,"  Mayor Tom Gile says.  "Wish we could have been there."

Gile says other small communities are also struggling to have enough trained volunteers to respond to emergency calls.

Gile and Terpstra says state department of health services officials required the Cuba City Area Rescue Squad to suspend operations when the squad was unable to produce scheduling of on-call volunteers to ensure 24/7 coverage. 

However Rita Luna, president of CCARS in a message to WKOW clarified the decision and said they took themselves out of service and have contracted with a private company.

"Cuba City Area Rescue Service took itself out of service and contracted with a private company until we can ensure our day shift is complete," Luna said. "The state EMS office did not suspend or take our license. We are being proactive and sensitive to our communities needs."

They say such a schedule is being created. The squad had been operating with a page-system where all twenty-seven drivers and trained, medical personnel would be notified for all calls. Gile says it's been especially different to field crews during certain day time hours before of the volunteer's work schedules.

A spokesperson for DHS says the rescue squad intends to hire limited-term employees, and downgrade from a service with EMTs with advanced training, to personnel with basic training only.

A representative of a Dubuque-based ambulance company says his firm is covering emergency services in Cuba City through mid-November.  Gile says the city's contracted with the company for $33,000.  Gile says it is expected state officials will approve a resumption of Cuba City's rescue squad before December.

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