Emergency services, plow trucks work together to get high priority patient to hospital


RENSSELAERVILLE, N.Y (NEWS10) — The roads in the hilltowns of Albany County are filled with steep streets and hairpin turns. If you throw several inches of snow on top of that, it turns into treacherous conditions.

“The roads a lot of times, when they’re not as bad here, can be pretty slick up on the hill,” said David Ainspan.

The 911 Albany County Dispatcher was working Sunday night when a 911 call went out around 9:30 p.m. as the storm rolled in.

The call was for a 30-year-old female patient suffering from severe asthma complications with difficulty breathing.

Ainspan knew he needed to call in the necessary resources. He dispatched an ambulance to the home in Rensselaerville while simultaneously alerting county DPW crews to clear the way as quickly as possible.

“Went back-and-forth with the ambulance,” Ainspan explained. “They let us know what direction they would be taking to the hospital, and then we got on the county highway channel to advise the snow plow where to meet them.”

It’s a communication process made much easier with the counties new robust radio system.

The coordination left EMT Deana O’Hare, who was behind the wheel that night, with a tremendous amount of confidence as she worked to navigate her way through the white knuckle ride.

“We got in and started our way ‘off of the hill’ as we call it, and followed the snow plow all the way down,” said O’Hare.  

The plow driver following her requests for a specific route, no questions asked. He escorted her through four different towns and villages until they reached State Route 32, and even then the help continued.

“Along the way there would be a plow here or there that would be coming out. It was amazing to be able to have all of this work out for our patient because that’s the goal at the end of the day to get her there safely,” said O’Hare.

Even with all of that help, a typical 40 minute drive was doubled. The whole ordeal took about two hours.

“It was an experience, but when you live in the country, that’s what we do!” said O’Hare.

O’Hare kept the patient up to speed on location and ETA while the medic in the back kept her comfortable and stable until arrival.  

“She thanked us. You could just see the relief in her face even for as sick as she was,” said O’Hare.

O’Hare passed along her appreciation to the plow drivers, too.

“I got on dispatch and asked them to send along my thanks because he did a magnificent job getting me to where I needed to be,” said O’Hare.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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