Rafferty pushes for meeting on Lifemobiles

The Trenton Times

November 10, 1984

Rafferty pushes for meeting on Lifemobiles

Author: Jo Astrid Glading

HAMILTON — In an effort to ward off proposed changes In the distribution of Lifemobiles around the Mercer Courtly, Hamilton Mayor Jack Rafferty yesterday asked for a meeting between the heads of the county’s municipalities and the state Department of Health.

Rafferty said he wants the meeting because he believes response time to seriously ill residents, such as cardiac arrest victims, will be longer under the proposal outlined Thursday night to municipal officials by administrators at Helene Fuld Medical Center. A tentative meeting with Dr. Leah Z. Ziskin, the department’s assistant commissioner in charge of the Division of Community Affairs, has been set for Nov. 20, the mayor said.

The meeting would bypass Helene Fuld, which administers the county Lifemobile program. The hospital is under orders from the DOH to come up with a proposal by the end of the month that would provide two paramedics aboard each Advanced Life Support rig. The state ruled Helene Fuld has been In violation of slate law by allowing rigs to operate since 1960 with only one paramedic aboard.

The hospital’s proposal would establish three full time Lifemobiles around the county — probably one each in Trenton. Hamilton, and the Princeton area.

But the planned changes would mean the existing Advanced Life Support rigs operated by most volunteer and paid ambulance companies would be downgraded to Basic Life Support. A BLS vehicle’s staff cannot provide medication or intravenous fluids to critically ill patients. “It’s not adding three units,” Rafferty said, disputing Helene Fuld’s argument that the change will not detract from emergency service. “All the rest (of the existing ALS rigs) would be relegated to BLS, which is pounding on your chest, blowing in your mouth and holding your hand.”

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