MARTINEZ, Ga. (WJBF) – If you call 911 an ambulance will respond. But lately, more people have needed this emergency service for a specific type of medical need.
A Gold Cross ambulance is exactly what you want to see when you’re incapacitated. And despite the increase in calls amid COVID-19, EMS workers are being sent to more gunshot wound cases than ever before.
NewsChannel 6 spoke with Gold Cross EMS Director of Business Development Michael Meyers about the matter. He said, “The rise in gunshot calls that we’re getting or gunshot wounds that we’re getting is astronomical and we’re reaching near 300 already this year.”
Gold Cross reports it has responded to 265 gunshot wound calls already this year. Three of those took place by 8 o’clock Saturday morning. The average, about one a day across the CSRA.
This is a jump from last year. In 2020, Gold Cross responded to 217 gunshot wounds for the entire year. And in 2019, 174.
“With the amount of calls that we’ve had we just want to make sure that people stay mindful, stay aware. Safety should be at the forefront of our thought process in this year, anytime. We have to make sure that we do everything to stay safe,” Meyers said. “Stop the violence.”
As for where the shootings are taking place, Meyers said EMS workers are being called across all parts of the community. And due to the pandemic, he notes they are already stretched thin and that can wear on them mentally. But it’s a battle each of them is already equipped to handle.
“We need to stabilize and control the patient, render any life saving aid that we can at the time.”
Captain David Scott trains every EMS worker at Gold Cross and the severity of the case depends on whether you’re treated at the scene or rushed to a local hospital.
“Most of our care should be done en route,” Capt. Scott said. “We can stabilize immediately on scene, treat any immediate life threats. Load them, go, get them to a higher, definitive level of care. That’s when the doctors get in and take over.”
Additionally, Gold Cross workers are trained on the emotional side as well to stay with the patient until they reach the hospital. We checked in with Richmond County Sheriff’s Office to see whether its gunshot calls are up too. We are awaiting those results.