As most of the residents living in Ripley County are aware, the local hospital Southeast Health Ripley County will cease operation on October 15, 2018. While this is an extremely sad day for local citizens, we are told that there continues to be an effort by the hospital’s Board of Directors and Missouri Highlands Health Care to hopefully make this a temporary situation. Ripley County Ambulance District supports all efforts to do so and we will continue to provide the best pre-hospital care possible.
The closing of the emergency department will cause changes in the way we operate. In the past residents that presented to the local emergency department could be transported to other tertiary health facilities including hospitals in Cape Girardeau, St. Louis, Jonesboro, Memphis and Little Rock, etc. Those Hospital to Hospital Transfers will no longer be available with the emergency department closing.
Residents utilizing the District’s ambulances in an emergency, will now have limited choice as to the destination they are transported. Nearest Appropriate facilities to which the Ambulance District will transport patients in emergency situations are Poplar Bluff Regional, Black River Medical in Poplar Bluff Missouri and Five Rivers Medical Center in Pocahontas, Ark. We will not be able to transport any patients to clinics or Urgent Care Centers and have not been able to transport patients to the Urgent Care Center at John J. Pershing VA Medical Center for the past two years.
We are also required to follow certain treatment and transport guidelines with respect to Stroke, STEMI and Trauma Centers. The nearest Stroke and STEMI Center is Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center and the nearest Trauma Center is St. Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau.
When necessary and appropriate we will continue to utilize local Air Ambulance Services. In our area, we have two services, Air Evac Life Team based in Poplar Bluff and Survival Flight located in Pocahontas, Ark. When needed both services, weather permitting, can usually be here in minutes when they are not involved in other emergencies.
In Closing, Ripley County Ambulance District would like to thank all of the physicians, nurses and ancillary staff who made our local hospital a great place for medical care and let them know that the Ambulance District will continue to work hard to achieve the best outcomes for our patients, just as they have for so many years..