“Just follow the signs!” I told myself as I pulled in with my patient to the Phoebe Sumter Regional Hospital labyrinth. I had never delivered a patient to the new facility which opened in Americus on December 16th. It is on the corner of highways 280 and 19. I was transporting a patient from Webster County. Signs eventually led me to the ER Ambulance Bay. A rather distinguished gentleman asked me if I found my way in easily enough. “I just followed the signs, sir.” He seemed pleased. I had entered from the HWY 280 side, closest to Webster County. Later I was informed that the entrance from HWY 19 was a straight shot to the ambulance entrance.
AT 8:55 am, we unloaded the patient from the ambulance. Upon our entering, all of the Emergency personnel were looking at us. Everyone was moving with marked deliberation. I asked, “Where would you like our patient?” Someone asked, “Is 10 available yet?” It was. We helped our patient transfer to the hospital bed and kept the routine. We came out and continued process. Someone volunteered: “You’re the first.” “We’re the first what?” I inquired. “You’re the first ambulance to admit a patient to the new hospital.”
I thought that was really ironic. I work in Sumter County for Vital Care EMS. The hospital is in Sumter County. I’ve made many transports to the other location before the move with Vital Care. I also work for Webster County EMS. This patient requested Phoebe Sumter Regional Hospital. Different from our routine, we came to Americus. “So Webster County’s the first.” someone observed.
The hospital staff at Phoebe Sumter is a team of consummate professionals. The environment was better, but very new. They had not yet snapped to grid like they operated in the other facility. I knew it would just be a matter of time. Some of the staff was learning where things belonged and where to find other things.
Outside I ran into the Sumter County Deputy Coroner, W. R. “Buddy” Wilbanks. He was asking where the morgue was. I didn’t know but a security guard told him. We talked for a few minutes and I asked him if he would take our picture to remember this occasion. He took it with his camera.
This whole experience made me think of a person’s first day in heaven. People are brought in all the time. Are you nervous about it? What kind of facility will that be? “I can only imagine!” “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansion; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3)
Pretty soon, the Coroner will find us. If you know Jesus, you’ll like the new location. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”(John 14:6)
The writer with Sumter County Deputy Coroner, W. R. “Buddy” Wilbanks.