Local News

Nov 26, 2013 9:11 PM by Andrew Ellison - aellison@kristv.com

E.M.S. Cuts in Mathis Could be Putting Lives at Risk

MATHIS - Residents in Mathis are worried that budget constraints could be putting their lives in danger.

Every city department has had to make spending cuts, including the Emergency Services Department.

The city is having trouble paying it's bills, and the E.M.S. Department is down to one running ambulance.

For Mathis resident Sandra Figueroa, this problem turned into a nightmare.

She woke up this morning to her 83 year old mother having chest pain, and trouble breathing.

"When I called 911, the dispatchers told me it was going to be thirty minutes before an ambulance would get there because E.M.S. had just gone out on another call," Figueroa says.

Mathis E.M.S. now relies on Beeville, Odem, and Orange Grove for help since it's down to only one running ambulance, but the response time for them was similar.

Finally, the ambulance arrived and luckily, Figueroa's mother is okay, but this is becoming a regular occurence in Mathis.

E.M.S. can't afford supplies, and can't afford to have more than one truck running.

Lots of debt, no money, and messy bookeeping are causing the city and the department lots of problems.

"It's getting out of hand, somebody's going to die," Figueroa says.

The city manager tells us the E.M.S. Department is simply overloaded and can't handle the volume of calls with one ambulance, but there's no money to fix the problem.

The city told us they are looking at ways to provide extra funding, but they couldn't give us anymore detail than that.

At any rate, that's all little consolation to Figueroa, who questions whether or not her mother will be safe next time she needs help.

"This is the third incident that we have had where we've had to wait for E.M.S. you know thirty minutes," she says.

When we talked to the mayor about the cuts a couple weeks ago, he said one ambulance is enough because of the other surrounding E.M.S. services that can help.

Certainly, Figueroa disagrees.

We're told one option on the table for the city is to privatize the E.M.S. Department by contracting with an outside service.

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