The correct term for “medical amnesty” is now “medical assistance.” There is a “subtle difference, but an important one,” said Laurel Kennedy, vice president of Student Development. The term is not the only thing that has changed in the process of medical assistance, transport has varied greatly since last fall.
Medical assistance has brought Denison’s campus a long way since last fall’s public attention in the area of medical transport. “Last March, we changed our system of response so that we could reduce impact on the local EMS without reducing quality of care to students,” said Kennedy.
Denison entered a contract with Courtesy Ambulance last spring. “We hired one of their EMTs to be on campus on weekend nights so that the EMT could be an immediate first responder to any medical emergencies late night on the weekend,” said Kennedy. An EMT responds and evaluates a student’s medical status and deem whether or not they need help, need to be transported to Whisler.
Before the school started using Courtesy Ambulance, students who called for medical amnesty were calling security, who would call the fire squad if you were unresponsive. It was then the discretion of the squad to transport you to Licking Memorial. The public EMT was “virtually never taking students to Whisler, even though their protocol allows for that,” said Kennedy.
“What we have found in practice is that the number of students who are being transported to Licking Memorial Hospital has dropped really really dramatically. The [Courtesy] EMT is routinely making the decision that Whisler can handle it. The total number of students receiving medical care was down by 25% and the number of students being transported to Licking Memorial Hospital had gone down 50% of the fall.”
This outcome was “not anticipated, but good. There is less impact on the students when they are taken to Whisler. It’s much more upsetting for a student to be taken to the hospital, especially if they didn’t need to be.”
According to Kennedy, this semester there has been a jump in students being transported to Licking Memorial Hospital and “a big part of that is because most of the transports that we have had have been on nights other than Friday or Saturday nights.” Students that are routinely drinking on weekdays are not being seen by Courtesy’s EMT and receiving a medical opinion, they are being evaluated by on-campus security.
In terms of alcohol at Denison and within the local Granville community recently, Kennedy said, “Not all of those are things on the hill. There is high alcohol outlet-density in Granville, and Granville’s economy is largely based on food and entertainment, which has ramifications about where to drink in town and where to purchase alcohol in town.”
“We need to partner with folks in the local community and think of the problem of alcohol as a larger one,” Kennedy said.