Dougherty County paramedics are responding to a growing number of calls; Dozens every day. That's just one of the challenges they deal with, as we follow them for a short time during Emergency Medical Services Week...
Paramedics say they are seeing increasing workloads, both their number of calls and even the weight of the patients.
Dougherty County ambulance Med 7 drops off one patient at the hospital, and responds to another call immediately.
Paramedic Darin Roberts calls his job a challenge.
"A lot of physical challenges. A lot of mental challenges. We see people at the worst all the time, and you know that's never good."
Dougherty County EMS calls have increased 5% per year in recent years, today answering 22,000 calls a year, more than 60 a day.
Dougherty County EMS Director Greg Rowe said "They need to know if I dial 911, for whatever reason, I've got that service headed my way."
Another challenge is obesity. Every ambulance now includes ramps and power winches to pull in extremely heavy patients. Often, firefighters have to help get heavy patients onto Bariatric gurneys.
"It's not uncommon to get the 500, 600, 700 pound patient. And that's a patient that's hard to get from one spot to another," Rowe said.
Paramedics say more old and diabetic patients do not want to go to the hospital and want help from paramedics without being transported. EMS leaders say future health care policies could expand that idea.
"Part of what the community health program is, is how EMS Might be able to do more to keep people out of the hospital."
Paramedics use a lot of new technology, but everyday they face horrific injuries and death that most people could not handle.
"Lot of stress. But a lot of rewards too. You get somebody's family member back and save a life, that's a very rewarding career," Roberts said.
Every one of the paramedics we talked to today said helping people is the reason they chose their career.
Dougherty County EMS officials say because of a growing and aging population in Albany, they know their calls for service will continue to increase.