The Escondido Fire Department's paramedics, who now carry about 70% of the victims of car accidents and other emergencies to Palomar Medical Center's trauma center, will become virtually the exclusive emergency transport in Escondido, the City Council decided Wednesday.
Until now, paramedics transported the more seriously injured victims and deferred to Hartson Medical Services to carry the less seriously injured.
But Fire Chief Bob Watts said there were more disadvantages than advantages to that policy and said Hartson has no objection to backing out of the emergency transport business in Escondido so it can focus on scheduled, nonemergency patient transfers between facilities.
Under the old policy, both paramedics and Hartson would be called to an accident scene and, depending on the evaluation of the patient, one or the other would take the person to Palomar. In about 70% of the cases, the patient was injured badly enough to justify the greater skill of the Fire Department's paramedics.