The San Pedro de Macoris Fire Department in the Dominican Republic has two phone lines in a 3-by-5-foot cubicle serving more than 200,000 people, but the CEO of a Fair Lawn-based medical services transportation company says he's committed to improving the nation's emergency medical system.
"Compared to our very organized system up here — with formal dispatch systems and medical professionals continually educating themselves — it's like apples and oranges," said Kevin Fuchs, CEO of Fuchs EMS and Medical Transportation Services LLC.
On January 20, Robinson Cano — a Dominican native who runs the charitable foundation RC24 — Fuchs and a team of three EMS professionals from the Bergen County EMS Training Center traveled to Cano's hometown to deliver seven refurbished ambulances, donate medical supplies, and train 35 people in CPR, basic first aid, blood-borne pathogens and ambulance driving.
According to Fuchs, the operations are solely funded by RC24 and the work is volunteer-based, but because the need for medical professionals and supplies in San Pedro is still extremely high, Hackensack University Medical Center and Fuchs' team are planning to organize summer fundraising events and programs for the foundation.
When he returns to San Pedro with the RC24 camp in the fall, Fuchs hopes to bring several communications experts from the Northern New Jersey Mobile Intensive Care Consortium to establish a formal 911 emergency dispatch system.
"This project is years and years in the making, because it's no small task to replicate a response system that has been built on for decades in the U.S.," Fuchs said. "But the patient care has already greatly improved, and we've been able to lay the bricks for a foundation to set up a system that didn't exist."