One of the most important functions of Sedgwick County is providing emergency medical services (EMS). In this, the county has failed.
Sedgwick County political officers and its professional management failed to provide effective EMS service to residents, leading to a public health crisis. This issue should be paramount when deciding to vote for the incumbent commissioners. While it may be that commissioners have varying degrees of culpability, this issue is so important that none should be re-elected.
The Wichita Eagle has extensively covered this issue, and a summary page of its coverage is at Sedgwick County EMS. In an interview, the Eagle reporters got right to the point: “And we just heard horror stories about the slow response times, the low morale, the number of really experienced paramedics who had left. And they were clear to us that this is not just a workforce issue.” (1)“How They Did It: Wichita Eagle Reporters Expose A Broken EMS System”. The Journalist’s Resource, 2022, https://journalistsresource.org/home/wichita-eagle-broken-ems-system/.
The major article on this matter (Unresponsive: Crisis at Sedgwick County EMS Leaves Many Waiting for Life-Saving Care) holds these excerpts:
Sedgwick County EMS response times have gotten dangerously slow under Dr. John Gallagher, director of the department, a Wichita Eagle investigation found. Since 2019, when Gallagher took charge, Sedgwick County EMS has shown up late to more than 11,000 potentially fatal emergencies, no longer meeting its national accreditation standards.
Eagle interviews with more than 50 past and present Sedgwick County EMS employees, county officials and EMS experts — coupled with an analysis of county records obtained by the Eagle — reveal a broken emergency medical system that’s growing worse by the day, creating a public health crisis that potentially puts thousands of lives at risk of preventable death.
County leaders are aware of widespread problems in the department but have ignored, dismissed and publicly whitewashed concerns raised by EMS employees for years, the Eagle’s investigation revealed.
The article concludes with this:
“As slow as Sedgwick County EMS has become at responding to emergencies, its response times pale in comparison to the time it has taken county leadership to recognize there’s a problem — despite warnings from frontline employees. “The current state of the EMS organization was literally forecast by employees over the past two years,” Mitchell, the paramedic, said. “And it was 100 percent avoidable.”
If you are not able to read the entire article because of a paywall, you may read it here when it was presented in an exhibit for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting. The article was a finalist.
|↑1||“How They Did It: Wichita Eagle Reporters Expose A Broken EMS System”. The Journalist’s Resource, 2022, https://journalistsresource.org/home/wichita-eagle-broken-ems-system/.|