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Response time defended by ambulance co.

January 25, 2012 - Atlas Twp.-It took less than 12 minutes for a local ambulance company to respond to an injured player during a Goodrich High School football game last fall.

Just exactly how many minutes Swartz Ambulance Company took to arrive sparked concern for Township Supervisor Shirley Kautman-Jones, who called the incident inexcusable and shameful.

The issue started during a Sept. 30 homecoming game against Lake Fenton. With the Martians up 14-0 and 6:09 left in the second quarter, Lake Fenton defensive back Matt Hommer had head-to-head contact with a Goodrich player. Following the collision, Hommer, a junior, laid on the field in rainy, cool conditions for more than 30 minutes while coaches and trainers attended to his injuries. Genesee County Sheriff paramedics were called and arrived just prior to the arrival of a Swartz Ambulance. Hommer was stabilized and taken off the field on a stretcher. The game and halftime activities were delayed for about an hour. He was transported to Genesys Regional Medical Center for treatment.

Amanda Sherwood, administrative director for Genesee County based Swartz Ambulance Service, responded to the contentions.

"We actually received two calls to the Goodrich Homecoming," she said. "A current employee was at the football game that night and made the first call to Swartz at 8:09 p.m. Thirty seconds after that call, a second call to 9-1-1 came in at 8:10 p.m. The first truck came from 5531 South Saginaw St. and traveled 10.14 miles arriving at the scene in 11:21 (minutes) at 8:21 p.m. The second truck arrived at 8:27 p.m. and cleared the scene at 8:33 p.m."

Sherwood said the truck departed the Goodrich High School football field at 8:34 p.m. to Genesys Regional Medical Center for treatment.

"Two trucks were dispatched since we were unsure of the number of injuries. In addition there was an ambulance base two miles closer at 5531 South Saginaw St., (Grand Blanc) but at the time of the call it was not available. We cover some football games with an ambulance just off the field. At Carman-Ainsworth and Swartz Creek high school games we are right on site. Sometimes the injured player is just stunned and may lay there for a while before we are called over to assist."

Sherwood was unsure how long Hommer laid on the field prior to a call for assistance.

"Sometimes it seems like forever waiting for an ambulance," she said. "We do the best we can to get out there. Typically we are the closest to Goodrich."

Lloyd Fayling, 9-1-1 director for Genesee County confirmed they received the call at 8:08 p.m., Sept. 30.

"Swartz was the closest to Goodrich High School that night," said Fayling. "The Swartz Ambulance was 4.23 miles from the school when they were contacted. But we are not sure when they arrived. We did receive a call and dispatched a Genesee County Sheriff at 8:08 p.m. and they traveled seven miles arriving at 8:18 p.m. that night."

Bruce Trevithick, executive director of the Genesee County Medical Control Authority's Professional Standards Review Organization (PSRO), investigated the case in October. The PSRO conducted its investigation and the case was closed. The PSRO is a group of 12 individuals including hospital directors and other professionals in the medical arena.

Hommer left the hospital the following morning (Oct.1) under his own power, reported Todd Reynolds, Lake Fenton High School principal. He returned to school on Monday.

Groveland Township Fire Chief Steve McGee said response time is a variable emergency responders are continually striving to improve.

"In Groveland we strive to be out the door and on the way in about one minute," he said. "Under most conditions we should be on the scene in less than five minutes. However, weather and other factors can play into that equation, too. There can be differences in arrival time if it's in a rural community or urban—traffic, stop lights or road conditions can also have an impact."

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