Paramedics show heroics - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Paramedics show heroics

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -

The week of May 15th is dedicated to Iowa's Emergency Medical Specialists.

In Sioux City, the ambulance crews work for Siouxland Paramedics.  It's a non-profit company that takes patients to both Sioux City hospitals.

Siouxland Paramedics Scott Johnson and Stephanie Rentschler look forward to their 24 hour shifts for one big reason.  "We work two days a week, that's the big thing," said Johnson.

They're just one group of three that operate in Sioux City's three sections.

"Some days the North is the busiest district, some days the South.  Some days the West is, so you just never know," said Johnson.

And you never know what the next call will be.

With a ring on the radio paramedics are alerted to respond. Their first call of the day is a common one, "man down".  It means somebody's spotted a person who looks unconscious and a paramedics will see if they need help.

In this case it was a no...

"So what do you call that," asked reporter Forrest.

"Drunk, taking a nap, going to jail," said Anderson.

After each call paramedics return to their "stations".  It's where paramedics spend "down time" in between calls.  This group works out of St. Luke's Regional Medical Center.

"We each have our own room, with a TV and stuff," said Rentschler.

It looks like a college dorm.  Paramedics can relax.  But, within 15 minutes there was another call.  This time they were assisting a women who was sick, too weak to get to the hospital on her own.

"We were so tickled that we got such quick service. She was so weak we couldn't get her out to the car," said family member Sandy Carlson.

The woman was dropped off at Mercy Medical Center.  That's where doctors and nurses took over.  Their job is made a little easier by paramedics.

"They can start I-Vs they can start the medicine before they come to the hospital, so their treatment has started before they get here," said Mercy Nurse Anne Hardy.

After some paper work, the team restocked, cleaned-up, then headed back to their station to wait for the next call. It's constant back and forth, but they wouldn't have any other way.

"I'll be doing this as long as I am physically able to do this job," said Johnson.

"This job is not about the money. We go out there and do it because we love it," said Rentschler.

They have no capes or fancy uniforms. They're not super heroes, just super people doing their job.

Service comes at a cost for the Siouxland Paramedics.

The company said, on average, they charge between $800 and $1,000 for a trip.  They said, that cost, depends on the type of emergency, and distance they travel.
     
Officials said if transport is "medically necessary", insurance will typically pick up the tab.  But, right now, federal policy could change the way they charge.

"We're kind of in a uncertain period because were not totally sure yet what health care reform is going to do to the ambulance industry," said Jeff Anderson with Siouxland Paramedics.

Anderson said the company is playing wait and see. But, he also said they have no plans to raise rates in the near future.

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