Washington Area Ambulance District (WAAD) personnel responded to more than 3,500 calls in 2017, which was an increase of 354 over 2016.
Ambulance District Chief Terry Buddemeyer says the rise in calls was across the board and was consistent with other EMS services in the county.
“We’ve all been a little busier, both in primary calls and transports,” he said. “I don’t want to say it was a ‘good year’ I’ll just say we are all working together.”
One point of interest Buddemeyer highlighted was the increased administration of Narcan to possible drug overdose patients.
“In 2017, we administered either a single does or multiple doses of Narcan to 27 patients,” Buddemeyer said. “For a total of 36 doses.”
The WAAD predominantly runs emergency calls coming in via 911 and transfers between hospitals and other care facilities
Buddemeyer noted the average number of calls per day was fairly consistent for each day of the week. In past years there were spikes on Mondays and Fridays, especially in patient transfers.
Overall, the EMS service averaged 9.6 calls per day and most calls, 543, were run on Thursdays.
The 2017 stats also show the busiest times for calls each day were between noon and 1 p.m., and 3 and 4 p.m. with a little over 200 calls coming in during those time slots.
Just over 60 percent of the total calls were emergency in nature: 1,443 medical; 281 accidental injury; 206 motor vehicle accidents; and 196 cardiac.
Another 31 percent, or 1,121 calls were transfers to and from medical or speciality living facilities.
Rounding out the calls for 2017 were 130 invalid assists: 111 mutual aid or standby responses to assist other EMS services; nine direct responses to mutual aide scenes; six structure fires; five home deaths; and three fire rehabilitations.
Buddemeyer clarified the majority of the mutual aid responses are to cover a neighboring district and most of the time they do not run a call for the other service.
The service also ran 747 calls which resulted in refusals or nontransports.
With the high number of transfers done by the WAAD, more than 30 percent, or 1,087 of its patient pick ups were at Mercy Hospital Washington; 181 at Mercy medical building south; 64 at Mercy medical building north; 42 at Mercy urgent care; and 13 at Mercy cancer clinic.
The second highest pickup location was 28 percent, or 991, from residences. There were 219 pickups at businesses, and 212 from vehicle accidents.
There also were just under 100 patients pickups in neighboring EMS districts with 65 in Union; 30 in New Haven; and one each in Gerald, Meramec and St. Clair ambulance districts.
The report also shows another 471 patients pickups from nursing homes or assisted living facilities in the district.
With its location in the ambulance district, Mercy Hospital Washington was the primary facility to which WAAD patients were transported making up 41 percent, or 1,464 of the total calls.
The next highest drop-off location, making up 21 percent, or 594 of the total calls was Mercy Hospital St. Louis; 66 at Barnes Jewish; 43 at Mercy Jefferson; 35 at St. Anthony’s; and 27 at Missouri Baptist Sullivan.
The 354 call jump between 2016 and 2017 is the largest increase the WAAD has recorded in the past 12 years.
Although there have been ebbs and flows of increases and decreases in call, overall the district calls have increased by more than 900 over their total in 2005.
Buddemeyer anticipates an increase in call volume in coming months and years with the addition of more assisted living and urgent care facilities in the ambulance district.