On Monday, Brazil resident Kelly Moore and four members of her family approached both the Clay County Commissioners and Clay County Council with complaints and questions about TransCare.
Moore stated 911 dispatchers at the Clay County Justice Center were contacted on Feb. 8 to request emergency services to assister her brother-in-law, who was having what ended up being a fatal heart attack. Per protocols, the call was transferred to TransCare dispatchers. She added a second call had to be made four minutes later because the initial one had been cut off.
"We were only about two blocks away from the hospital, yet it took about 10 minutes for them to show up," Moore said, pointing out TransCare arrived without the lights or sirens on. "Plus, they drove by the house a couple of times, and I am curious as to why they don't seem to know the streets or area at all."
Moore continued to describe what happened, saying when TransCare did arrive, all they seemed to be concerned with was starting an IV, while at the same time were extremely rude.
"TransCare was made aware of the heart condition, but they didn't even bring in a defibrillator," she said. "Also, they were very unprofessional and made rude and unnecessary remarks when it came to doing part of their job."
Other family members pitched in by questioning if TransCare employees have the needed certifications, and reemphasized their curiosity about the inability to find the right locations.
"When our dispatchers receive a call, we have one set of codes that are different from what TransCare uses, meaning extra time is being used to find the correct code," Heaton said. "However, we are training right now to be on the same coding system, and hope to have it up and running by the end of May."
Moore also said when she approached TransCare with the issues, representatives placed the blame solely on the Sheriff's Department, which after more research, she found was not the case.
"Sheriff Heaton helped me in every aspect I needed, but TransCare officials didn't seem to have any answers other than passing the buck onto the Sheriff's Department," she said.
The commissioners and council members both said there would be issues with any ambulance service.
"No ambulance service is perfect, and there always is room for improvement," Commissioner Paul Sinders said.
County Council member Larry Moss said the human element sometimes throws things out of whack.
"I'm not making excuses for them, but humans do make mistakes," Moss said during the council meeting. "However, it doesn't excuse the lack of 'bedside manner,' but with the added knowledge we can work to make things better."
Although Moore knew it was too late to save her brother-in-law, she and her family wanted to bring the issues to county officials in hopes of preventing similar problems in the future, which officials were happy they did.
"I am glad you came to speak up on this issue," Council President Mike McCullough said. "It is always beneficial to have the public come to us with their concerns so we can be more informed and make better decisions."
Meanwhile, the County Council also approved an additional appropriation of $350 in the Jail CAGIT Fund for the purpose of covering costs associated with the county's upgraded bond ratings.
The next meeting of the Clay County Commissioners will be 9 a.m., Monday, May 3, in the Commissioners' Courtroom at the Clay County Courthouse. The Clay County Council will next meet on the same date at 6 p.m., at the same location.
Times Staff Reporter Ivy Jacobs contributed to this article.