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Lack of hospital affects county in ways both obvious, obscure

Published 4:16pm Friday, May 10, 2013

The lack of an emergency facility in Chilton County poses an even more daunting challenge for smaller departments like Maplesville and Thorsby, which might have only one patrol officer on duty at a time.

CPD responded to 310 car wrecks and almost 30,000 calls for service in 2012. The Chilton County Sheriff’s Department responded to even more calls, and with a smaller staff.

Dan Wright, director of Chilton County E-911, said his staff has dispatched Clanton Fire Department to Chilton Medical Center after people have arrived there expecting to be able to receive treatment.

Wright said emergency calls so far this year are on pace to exceed last year’s numbers. CFD, for example, is on pace to receive about 2,000 calls in 2013, compared to about 1,700 in 2012, Chief David Driver said.

Wright and Driver said there is no proof the hospital being closed would lead to an increase in calls, but both said they think more people might be calling 911 so that an ambulance could transport them out of town when, in the past, they might have driven themselves to a local ER.

“I would speculate that people are using the EMS system more because there’s not a hospital open,” Wright said.

Stilwell said there are other factors that make local law enforcement miss having a health care facility in the county, such as the requirement for officers to be tested for drugs or alcohol in their system anytime they are involved in a wreck or suffer an injury, even if they were not at fault.

“It would be a lot easier for us if the hospital were still here.”

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