Emergency medical help coming to an underserved area

Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 4:21 PM CDT
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OSCEOLA, Ark. (KAIT) - When it comes to healthcare throughout rural parts of the state having access to proper emergency medical services, offering a helping hand can be a struggle, but in Mississippi County that is about to change.

People in places like Joiner and Wilson are forced to wait for extended periods for an ambulance. Those are areas that need it more than anywhere else, according to Dr. Reggie Collom.

“The population in southern Mississippi county like most rural areas is aging and when you have an aging population, you usually have more of a need,” Dr. Cullom said.

Dr. Cullom is one of the only doctors in Osceola and a Quorum Court member who has been pushing for more ambulances for some time.

When you look at the map and someone has a medical emergency in Westover, it could take 30 minutes for help to arrive from Osceola where there are only two ambulances.

That’s why Cullom proposed to the city and county a solution.

The map shows how far an ambulance would have to travel if there was a medical emergency in...
The map shows how far an ambulance would have to travel if there was a medical emergency in southern Mississippi County.(KAIT)

“I told them things we needed to do, and Crittenden EMS is willing to put two more ambulances in Osceola, one in Wilson, one at Joiner, and they already have one at Turrell,” Dr. Cullom said

The extra ambulances Crittenden EMS is providing will make it to where no one is more than 10 or 15 minutes away from help, which Dr. Cullom says will end up saving lives.

“Oh, my god, we are going to have people in Birdsong that are within 15 minutes of ambulance care where you can’t drive there within 45 min to an hour from Osceola,” Dr. Cullom said.

There is a little bit of work some of the smaller towns like Wilson and Joiner have to do to make sure they can house the new trucks, but this should cut the response time by almost half for some places.