18 April, 1986 (~estimated)
Lifemobile Will Return Monday After a Month of Angry Dispute
This is a story for those who don’t believe in happy endings. After a month-long clash of wills and temperaments marked by angry words and letters, Helene Fuld Hospital has agreed to return a life-mobile to Princeton. It is scheduled to be back on a full-time basis at Princeton Medical Center (PMC) this Monday.
The van, which contains advanced life-support equipment and is staffed by trained paramedics, moved out of Princeton a month ago to more comfortable digs at the Princeton Junction Firehouse.
Both Princeton mayors publicly protested the move, as did officials of surrounding municipalities. The lifemobile is one of three operated by Helene Fuld’s Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU) program. The three, aided by a fourth daytime lifemobile run by Hamilton Township, serve Mercer and parts of adjoining counties.
The administrators of Helene Fuld and Princeton Medical Center met last Tuesday afternoon in Princeton and agreed to the lifemobile’s return. Helene Fuld spokeswoman Elizabeth Bonney noted, however, that the vehicle may still be stationed elsewhere on a temporary basis. She said the lifemobile at the Mercerville firehouse could be relocated to the Windsor area based on call load and need and noted that during the night, when traffic flow is less, the unit at PMC can readily respond to the Windsors.
The three units in the state MICU program, as of Monday, will be stationed at Princeton Medical Center, the Mercerville Firehouse, and Helene Fuld Hospital.
The lifemobile in Princeton will serve, on a first-call basis, Princeton and parts of Hopewell, Pennington, Montgomery, and Franklin.
Jane Kerney, PMC’s director of public relations, said the hospital was delighted that the lifemobile was coming back. She said the hospital would provide space for the crew and its equipment but wasn’t certain yet where this space would be.
Helene Fuld is still planning to press forward with its request of a fourth lifemobile for is MICU program. Ms. Bonney said this vehicle can be justified and that the hospital will apply for it to the State department of Health. A decision on where it will be placed will be made if and when permission for the additional lifemobile is granted.
PMC, on the other hand, is baking off somewhat from its demand for a fourth vehicle that would be run independently by the medical center. “We won’t push for the fourth vehicle right now,” said Ms. Kerney. “We’ll wait until things begin to settle down and then we’ll see.”
-Myrna K. Bearse