Ambulance Service Battles Breakdowns

Ambulance Service Battles Breakdowns
By: CJ Cassidy

PERRYVILLE, Mo. - An ambulance ride can be terrifying enough, but what if the vehicle broke down along the way?
It happened to a Perryville woman.
"I was being transferred to St. Louis by ambulance to be treated for a reaction to some medication," said Millie Bollinger of Perryville.
But her ride didn't go as planned.
"The ambulance started having trouble on the Interstate.  It kept going slower and slower until finally they weren't able to drive it and have to pull over," she said.
Bollinger didn't suffer any extra problems herself and praises the crew for taking care of her.
"The crew treated me well, did a great job, but it's hard for them to focus on the patient when they have other issues they have to handle," Bollinger said.
Perry County Memorial administrators understand Bollinger's concerns.  They've spent more than $8000 to give their trucks a clean bill of health.
"In about six weeks the ambulances had to go into servce seven times.  When they were returned us, we were operating on the premises they were ready to go into patient service," said Patrick Carron, Perry County Memorial CEO.
"It's a little frustrating that these are mechanical.  Anything mechanical is going to break and fail," said ambulance driver Jim Farrar.
Still, Minnie Bollinger wants to know crews won't have to hit the breaks.
"Everyone in the county deserves to know if they start out in an ambulance there won't be any problems," she said. 
The problems with the truck range from corrosion in the fuel tanks to air conditioners on the fritz.  Administrators think the corrosion came from residue collected from gas that was pumped into the tank.
At this point there are no plans to replace any of the trucks.