Because it can be challenging for a MedStar ambulance to reach people in need in Fort Worth’s bustling entertainment district, the organization’s EMS personnel have been successfully dispatching emergency health services via bicycle.
“It is very difficult at 1, 2 o’clock in the morning to get an ambulance down here,” MedStar first responder Matt Zavadsky explained to Fox News. “Really, to get even police cars, which is why you see the police department here on bicycles.”
MedStar and the Fort Worth Police Department (FWPD) have been collaborating since 2018 on how to efficiently dispatch emergency medical care to the 7th Street entertainment district.
The result is MedStar’s Bicycle Emergency Response Team (BERT), which can be requested by on-duty police officers and anyone with an emergency that can still dial 9-1-1.
Zavadsky stated that BERT personnel carry most of the medical necessities you would find on an ambulance, including “oxygen, [and] equipment to do breathing treatments.”
Since the program started, BERT has treated a total of 466 patients, 61% of whom were treated on the scene without an ambulance, cutting down on costs and allowing ambulances to attend to more pressing medical emergencies.
Of the 466 patients, only 184 have been transported to the hospital since the program’s inception.
“And again, that’s (roughly) 500 ambulance calls that we didn’t have to respond to right away. We get [an] assessment on [the] scene, decide if we need an ambulance,” Zavadsky stated.
He added, “More than half the patients that we see down here on Friday and Saturday nights, we are able to treat and release right here at the scene without them having to go to the hospital.”