When people experience serious trauma or medical emergencies, the first to respond are usually providers with an emergency medical service (EMS), such as New London Hospital’s Ambulance Service (NLAS), which has a long history y of quality emergency health care in our Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Region.
Prior to the 1970s, ambulance services were typically run by funeral homes and fire departments. Each town had a volunteer first aid team, or Fast Squad, which often provided care before transportation arrived. NLH provider Paul Diekmann, an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for over 20 years and now an RN in NLH’s Emergency Department, and NLH Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Pamela Drewniak, B.A., EMT-I, I/C, CHEP EMS were both members of Fast Squads in their towns.
Paul and Jim Drewniak (Pam’s husband, who passed away in 2002) helped establish NLH’s ambulance service over 30 years ago. Jim, one of the first EMTs to become licensed by the State of New Hampshire to be an instructor, conducted classes at NLH and certified countless providers to be EMTs in their communities. At that time, the New London Ambulance Service (NLAS) was owned by the Town of New London and operated on a volunteer basis by NLH. By the 1980s, the all-volunteer NLAS staff was responding to calls from New London and six surrounding communities.
In December 2000, NLH recognized the need for a full-time ambulance service, and NLAS transitioned to a paid EMS team offering 24/7 care and transport. To serve an increasing population and emergency call volume, a second NLAS ambulance and associated staff were added in 2003, and a third ambulance was purchased in 2007.
Today, the NLAS provides quality emergency care and transport to residents of New London,
Newbury, Springfield, Sunapee, Sutton and Wilmot. NLAS has a staff of 22 Paramedics and 13 Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians. All are trained to recognize the signs and systems of emergencies so they can request the appropriate level of care and best facility for the patient, and they have a direct line to the Emergency Department physician for information and advice.
Ambulances today are like mobile emergency rooms, outfitted with top-of-the-line equipment. "Our EMS staff provide a higher level of care than in the past, performing EKGs; providing IV, respiratory, and medication interventions; and managing stroke and cardiac care. In many situations, EMS providers are the first line in the health care team," says Pam. "The advanced interventions, medications and emergency care we provide at the scene can save significant time and improve patient outcomes in the hospital, which is good for both patients and institution."