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The unanimous selection of northen Illinois-based Paramedics Services of Illinois Wednesday night by the DeWitt County Ambulance Advisory Committee likely means the end of the road for the newly formed DeWitt County Ambulance Association (DCAA).

Several members of the community formed the non-profit group earlier this year in an effort to keep paramedic services based within the county.  The DCAA's proposal relied heavily on utilizing equipment and personnel currently employed by the Dr. John Warner Hospital.  However, committee members cited some concerns with the current service, and the potential for those concerns to carry over to the DCAA's operation.

At the beginning of Wednesday night's meeting, Ambulance Advisory Committee Chair Teresa Barnett spoke of an incident that occurred Wednesday afternoon in which the ambulance crew from DJWH was delayed in responding to a potential heart attack victim at the Warner Library.

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The incident reflected badly on the DCAA due to the fact that so much of their proposal was tied to current ambulance service staff.  Barnett notes use of available mapping software to avoid delayed responses has been a top priority of the committee from the beginning.

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Barnett, who also serves as the DeWitt County EMA Director, says one such incident is forgivable, however she points out this is the latest of several instances.  She feels any avoidable delays are not acceptable when a life hangs in the balance.

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Despite the Wednesday afternoon incident - many Ambulance Advisory Committee members took time to thank the DCAA board for their efforts, but in the end they unanimously cast their votes for Schiller Park-based PSI.  That recommendation goes to the full DeWitt County Board next Thursday night.

Dr. John Warner Hospital representatives were not available for comment at Wednesday night's meeting.

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