EMS unit commander praises new ER as life-saving asset to north Baton Rouge

Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - There is never a dull day when in the business of saving lives and a local EMS unit commander says the new emergency room in north Baton Rouge will provide a valuable resource for those in the area.

Brad Harris has been with East Baton Rouge EMS for 18 years now, and says he's seen it all, including the good, the bad, and everything in between. "Typically it's your traumatic calls are the ones that you remember the most, like certain car accidents, jumpers from the bridge, the Mississippi River Bridge," said Harris.

Thirteen EMS units fan out across the parish at any given moment. They take on roughly 150 calls each day.

Not every call, like one EMS responded to on Silverleaf Wednesday afternoon, requires a transport, but a three-car crash on I-110 near Capital Access Road did send one person to the hospital late Wednesday. Harris says they just never know from one call to the next what may happen. It's why he says they have to be ready for anything.

"The sooner we can get to a patient and the sooner we can get a patient to the hospital, the better," said Harris.

A new resource, the Our Lady of the Lake clinic in north Baton Rouge, started taking ER patients at 1 p.m. Wednesday, November 15, and Harris calls the program a game changer.

RELATED: New ER opens in north Baton Rouge

"Right now, we're averaging about 16 minutes," said Harris. "We are hoping that our times will improve and we will continue to do statistics to see what those times are."

The new ER in north Baton Rouge gives EMS more options when transporting patients and Harris says when seconds matter, it could be the difference between life and death. "Absolutely. I 100 percent agree that it's going to be life-saving," he added.

The new ER offers a number of services, but not surgical care. While more serious cases like shootings will still need to be handled at the trauma center on Essen, Harris says this location can still help.

"We will transport there. They'll stabilize the patient and then the patient will be transferred to the other facility," said Harris. "It's just another asset, another tool in our arsenal that we can utilize."

The tool is already making a difference in north Baton Rouge.

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