Officials look at adding another EMS ambulance in Keokuk

WGEM News at Six
Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 5:31 PM CDT
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KEOKUK (WGEM) - With Blessing Health Keokuk announcing last week they will close their hospital doors on Oct. 1, city officials are looking into operating another ambulance in the city.

Lee County Supervisor Garry Seyb says the closure affects more than just Keokuk.

“The loss of the ER is huge, the loss of the hospital as a whole is a big deal in the community and the county as a whole,” said Seyb. “So it’s affecting Keokuk directly but it has an effect on the entire county.”

Lee County EMS already keeps one ambulance stationed in Keokuk.

City Administrator Cole O’Donnell said he sees a benefit to adding a second ambulance in Keokuk in case there are multiple emergency calls at once.

He said the city is working with Lee County EMS to try and create additional facilities to make that possible.

“It would just be someplace where they could put the two ambulances that would also have enough living quarters for the additional crew,” said O’Donnell.

“Main concern is the added response, no response time but the actual time to get the patient to the hospital so closest being Fort Madison and Carthage you’re probably talking about a 20 minute drive either way so adding an extra ambulance will allow them to cut down time if we have two calls at the same time,” said Rose.

But he says county-wide staffing issues are a cause for concern, should a second ambulance be utilized.

“With the amount of calls that we get on a yearly bases, the trend over the few years have been increases and less staff so it’s putting a heavy burden on emergency responders,” said Rose.

O’Donnell said these discussions are still in the early stages and a decision has not been made yet.

He said he’s still trying to find some way to provide 24-hour medical care for the people of Keokuk.

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