Local News

Ambulance Confusion Creates Long Ride For Jet-Ski Victim

Posted May 28, 2002 4:58 a.m. EDT

— John Keese said he is alive today because an emergency management technician and some nurses happened to be nearby and rushed to help him after he was run over by a boat.

"Thank goodness, there were some nice people on shore when I got there, to help me out," he said.

The Keese family was camping at Kerr Lake on a site close to the Virginia/North Carolina border. It took one hour and two ambulances to get John to the emergency room. The confusion started when someone called 911 from a cell phone.

"Being on a cell phone, the signal tripped over to Vance County, to the 911 center and the telecommunicator immediately dispatched the Vance County fire and ambulance service," said Chief Danny Wilkerson of the Vance County Fire Department.

That ambulance headed for the scene, but the rescuers on board realized the accident was across the state line and out of their territory, so they called for an ambulance from Mecklenburg County, Va.

"They got the call, sent a basic life support ambulance out. When they got to the scene, they realized what injuries he had and immediately called for what we call a paramedic intercept from Vance County," Wilkerson said.

The Virginia emergency medical technicians were not trained to treat Keese's serious injuries, so instead of taking him straight to the hospital, they transfered him to the Vance County ambulance, which was waiting at the state line.

The Vance County paramedics finally got Keese to a hospital an hour after the 911 call.