September 14, 2005
If you need an ambulance in Aiken County, your choice of a hospital may be limited. News 12 is on your side with why a diesel fuel shortage is affecting care.
Willie Parker uses Aiken County’s ambulance service quite often when he needs to get to University Hospital in a hurry.
“I have to say every one of my doctors are specialists,” Parker said.
And in the past three and a half years, Parker has been to the hospital 20-25 times and each time transported past Aiken Regional to University Hospital at his family’s request.
“I have been told last night he couldn’t go to anywhere but Aiken Hospital,” said Dianne Parker.
But Tuesday night’s emergency at the Parker home left Dianne Parker pleading with EMT’s to take her husband to University Hospital. That’s where all of his 27 medications are on file and specialists have been attending to his special conditions.
“I have his power of attorney and what I say goes and he will go to Augusta if I have to drag him with a wagon,” Dianne said.
But when these units are called, EMT’s are told to go to the nearest hospital.
“That is the directions we have provided them right now because we are experiencing some difficulty obtaining diesel,” said Rick Powell, EMS Director, Aiken County.
But Dianne Parker says she’s billed $500 every time her husband is transported by ambulance and that should be enough to say where he goes.
“I think it’s just unfair that the county say that we can’t go to the hospital of our choice because of a gas problem,” Parker said.
“I truly regret it, but with the diesel shortage we’ve got to try and use as little diesel as possible so that we will be able to respond to all patients calling or requesting help,” Powell said.
As the county desperately waits for the next truckload of diesel fuel before the county runs dry.
County administrator Clay Killian tells News 12 he considers all of the Augusta area hospitals close enough to transport patients. And he has looked into Parker’s case and says they had the right to go to University Hospital.
As for the fuel shortage, the county runs it’s own facility and they’re expecting a truckload any day now. To help with the shortage, the county has parked all of the heavy equipment in Public Works that use diesel fuel.