EMS workers in N.O. get needed help with additional ambulances

Ambulances and paramedics sent from neighboring states

Kenny Kuhn
April 01, 2020 - 2:34 pm
Acadian Ambulance

Emergency Medical Service workers, paramedics, and ambulance drivers in New Orleans risk their lives to help people through this COVID-19 that has us all scared. For those first responders, nothing is scarier than the unknown of rolling on a coronavirus call.

“My heart goes out to their families,” says CEO, Acadian Ambulance, Richard Zuschlag. “Whether you are in law enforcement or fire or public or private EMS, first responders are ‘under the gun’ right now to get the job done.” He says working during this time of crisis is stressful for their families who are fearful their EMS loved-one could get infected and bring the virus home.

With the COVID-19 measures ramping up to handle the surge of potential patients, medics are working around-the-clock. “We are told as of this morning we are actually moving some patients from some hospitals to others so they can be ramped up and ready to go with additional beds and ventilators, said Zuschlag. “They are trying to clear out some of the patients who are not as critical and put them in step down units and rehab hospitals in the greater New Orleans area.”

Zuschlag says the number of daily non-emergency transport calls have been reduced by 40% because many physician clinics are shut down, but he says they are still moving about 1000 patients a day across the state.

Although daily calls such as automobile accidents are down, COVID-19 calls are up substantially. EMS workers and ambulances from Texas have stepped-up to help take some of the burden off of EMS workers in Louisiana. “We have been blessed that a lot of our employees in the Texas area, which doesn’t seem to be hit as hard yet as the New Orleans area, have volunteered to come and stay in New Orleans for up to a week at a time.”

Acadian ambulances normally operate 40 ambulances in New Orleans but Zuschlag says with the additional help Texas and Tennessee, they are now up to 50 ambulances and are expected to add another 10 to 15 by next week so they can begin transporting patients to the Morial Convention Center when it opens. “This is going to be a crisis I think and pray we are all going to get through,” said Zuschlag.

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