Back on Jan. 30, the Liberty Township Board of Trustees approved entering into a contract with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center to provide a medical director to oversee the township’s fire-based emergency medical services (EMS).
During the trustees’ Tuesday meeting, residents met the new medical director, Dr. Ashish Panchal, professor of emergency medicine.
Panchal gave a short presentation on himself and his team: Dr. Daniel Bachmann, assistant professor of emergency medicine, and Dr. Nicholas Kman, professor of emergency medicine. He said when he put the team together, the focus was to find people who live in Liberty Township.
Panchal said both Bachmann and Kman live in Powell and are passionate about the community.
Trustee Shyra Eichhorn said she knew that Panchal had spent a lot of time with EMS providers since being appointed the medical director, and she asked him about their current state of wellness.
“As a medical director, one of the things that I think is paramount is if there is a disaster or our people are involved with something like that, there is a lot of shock from that and lots of emotional stress,” Panchal said. “As a medical director, one of the responsibilities is to take care of our people.”
Panchal said the township’s EMS providers are a group of dynamic individuals that are engaged and professional. He said it would be hard to find a team of their caliber anywhere else, but they are very stressed due to the current issues surrounding the status of the EMS.
“Those are issues that need to be managed,” he said. “Their resilience is being tried, and I think working on their stability is going to be one of the things that’s a big priority.”
A resident asked Panchal if he’d discovered anything broken with the township’s EMS as Trustee Melanie Leneghan has suggested in the past.
Panchal said as medical director, he is looking at the future and the direction the EMS is going in order to develop better outcomes. He said he hasn’t even searched for anything broken, because he respects what the EMS providers are doing.
“The future is where we stabilize,” he said. “That’s where I’m going to be able to save lives and take care of people.”
Another question focused on what hospitals patients would be transported to in an emergency.
“As the medical director for Liberty, my advocacy is for our patients,” he said. “Even if 90 percent go straight to Riverside (Methodist Hospital), I don’t care. It’s nearest and most appropriate, so they can get the care they need so that their lives can be saved.”
Marie Follmer, the mother of a special needs child who has spent many hours riding in the back of the township ambulances as paramedics transported her daughter to the hospital, asked if Panchal had changed any of the protocols the EMS operates under.
“Trying to come in and change everything is the wrong thing to do,” Panchal said. “That’s actually how you affect patient outcomes in a negative manner.”
Panchal said he is a slow and steady racer like a turtle, which he sees as a good thing when it comes to patient outcomes.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.