My name is Susan Smith "Suzie", and I have worked alongside as a team with Trinity County Life Support (TCLS) and all of the volunteers since 1981 as a Critical Care Flight Nurse. My first thought is that I cannot imagine Trinity County without the advanced EMS services they currently receive. This summer was one of the most tragic, traumatic injury summers I have experienced in your area. I have spent nights awake thinking about the trauma both physical and emotional/spiritual the patients and the care givers have endured. The level of care given by the crews is continually growing with education and desire to be better care givers. I know there would have been more fatalities in your area without the expertise of TCLS. The advanced practices that are being deployed in your area are life-saving. TCLS has become a critical care transport ambulance. They not only provide this advanced care to those that call 911 but also to patients requiring critical care services as they are transferred to out of the area hospitals for higher levels of care. As we all know this is much needed in your area with low visibility and the inability of an aircraft to get in. I personally travel to the coast frequently and go through this area. I am reassured to know that if my family needed medical assistance for anything, TCLS would be there for us.
When we woke up to our daughter, who was just 8 months old, having a complex febrile seizure it was like a nightmare. Living in our rural area is a blessing for our family, but having four children and knowing at best your closet emergency room is forty-five minutes away is one of my biggest fears as a mother. That night there was nothing we could do to help our daughter, having Trinity County Life Support (TCLS) saved her life. They were able to provide the medical care that she needed that moment, they were able to stop the seizure that had lasted over 10 minutes and showed no sign of stopping on its own. We had no one else around who could help for miles and miles. After that, first experience we found out that our daughter could have another seizure whenever she ran a fever. Sure enough 7 months later we woke up to another seizure. TCLS not only showed up again quickly but also remembered our daughter and her history and had a helicopter on its way. They were compassionate, vital, and efficient while helping our little girl. Knowing that we could rely on their help is so critical. While we hope that we won’t not need to make any more 1:00am nightmare calls to Trinity County Life support, we know we could need to at any time and I cannot imagine not having that as an option. It would be absolutely devastating to my family and to our community! Thank you to everyone who came to our rescue those nights! EMTs, Paramedics, Volunteer Fire, Cal-Fire, TCSO, and anyone else who helped in some way. And know our family will support Trinity County Life Support any way we possibly can!
It’s pretty fresh in my mind, even though it happened on 1-16-11. At about 5:30 in the morning I was at work when I started sweating, got “heartburn” (I never get heartburn) and had never had this feeling before. I got off work at 7, went home and sat down in my easy chair. About 7:15 it got a lot worse, I felt like something was sitting on my chest with a heat torch. I asked my girlfriend to call 911. They got there in 2 and a half minutes. The feeling of heaviness in my chest was increasing. They started to assess me and put the oximeter on my finger. I said “I don’t feel too good.” The next thing – I woke up on the floor. “What happened?” The Paramedic, Dan Layne, said “You had an event.” My heart had stopped and they defibrillated me. It was too foggy to fly that morning, and they took me to Trinity Hospital, where I received blood thinners. The ambulance then transferred me to Mercy Hospital where they put in a stent. My main coronary artery was plugged 98%. I was out of the hospital the next day, alive and feeling good. If they had not been there, I would not be here now. We just voted mail in ballot for Measures D and E yesterday, to keep this service. If not for the ambulance crew and service, I would not be alive. I feel like a lot of other people in this small town might not be here either.
I worked for Trinity County Life Support for almost 25 years. Firstly, as a full-time employee, including a period as the Operations Manager, then as a per diem employee (called when needed, covering open shifts, etc.) I was pleased to work with all the professional and dedicated employees for all those years. There were frequent changes of employees mostly because of the wages, and the fact we were only paid for 16 hours out of every 24-hour shift. At one time I had 2 outside jobs (on my days off) to make enough money to raise a family in Trinity County. The turnover was mostly because as soon as an employee could land a job the paid the full 24-hour shift, they would move on. Over the 25 years I have responded to every community in Trinity County, I can tell you that the people we helped were thankful for the service that Trinity County Life Support provided. With the miles of narrow, winding roads there are numerous accidents, and as the population ages the need for a fully staffed ambulance service will only continue to rise. With the weather of Trinity County, the reliance on helicopters to provide transport is not always readily available. I suggest that everyone consider what they would do without an ambulance when they or one of their family needs emergency care if these measures do not pass. The volunteer fire services are valuable as first responders, but they are unable to provide advance life support and transport of patient to the hospital. I recommend voting yes on Measures D and E.