The Pryor Times

Local News

March 13, 2014

Medics call for end to county feud

PRYOR, OK — Several Emergency Medical Technicians spoke up at the Mayes Emergency Service Trust Authority meeting Tuesday night.

“All this fighting in the county is affecting us out on the streets,” said Steve Smith, an EMT with Mayes Emergency Services Trust Authority. “When we’re out on a call, everything goes fine. We don’t have any of the drama.”

Smith said when they arrive on an emergency call, patients actually ask them about the situation between county commissioners, county 911 Center and MESTA.

“Patients shouldn’t have to worry about that. All of this drama undermines their trust in us,” said Smith. “It’s getting out of hand.”

Smith said he doesn’t understand why reconciliation is so difficult.

“The people that put on this uniform are proud to wear it. These issues, the mud-slinging, they aren’t our issues,” Smith told the board. “So everyone figure out what’s best for the county and just do that.”

MESTA’s operations supervisor agreed.

“There are a lot of unhappy medics right now. We take these attacks personally, we are MESTA,” said James Richardson.

Board Chairman Brent Crittenden interrupted momentarily to say, “I appreciate every one of you. You’re one of the best teams in the state.”

Another medic, Jody Dunham , said other people in the industry fight for the opportunity to work for MESTA. She said the working conditions, pay and equipment MESTA employees work with couldn’t be topped in a hundred-mile radius.

The overwhelming message from the medics present was they are passionate, trained and care about citizens.

“We need people to know they can trust us,” Dunham said.

“I’ve worked calls with each of you, I wouldn’t want to work with any other crew. We hear your pain,” said board member Trent Peper.

The medics agreed that the conflict between the different county entities is adding unnecessary stress to an already stressful job.

“Unless you’re here for the citizens, keep your mouth shut,” said Dunham.

Richardson told the board that MESTA is held in as high regard as Cherokee Nation Emergency Medical Services, which is nationally known.

The EMTs said they are passionate about their jobs, but as if they have targets on their backs.

Former board member Harriet Dunham thanked the medics for speaking up, and told them she appreciated their service and input.

“County agency versus county agency is not in the best interest of the citizens of the county,” said Smith.


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