By Mark Deavers, Paramedic & Director, Gouverneur Volunteer Rescue Squad
The North Country is known for the best fishing, boating, hunting, and recreational activities in New York State. We take pride in our rural heritage and most of us chose to live in the north country for the unique quality of life. There are many advantages to living here, but we are often at a disadvantage when it comes to medical and emergency care.
The north country is not unique in terms of limited access to critical emergency services. One in three Americans live in rural areas where getting urgent medical care for events like cardiac emergencies, stroke, and trauma is extremely difficult because the appropriate medical facilities are so far away. Since 1990, more than 22 percent of America’s hospitals have closed. According to the Center for Rural Affairs, rural hospitals have been closing at a rate of one per month since 2010.
Getting timely, appropriate medical care is often the difference between life and death. As trained emergency providers, we attend to people in their greatest time of need. We know that with traumatic injuries, getting timely care is absolutely critical. Immediate medical care can lead to vastly better outcomes so why are ground and air transport services seriously underfunded when eighty-five million American live more than one hour from a hospital with a trauma center?
We love living in the north country and we want to be assured that if trauma strikes, there are resources available to care for us.