Student's Death Raises Questions About Emergency Response Time at Prairie View PDF Print E-mail
By Gifty Gyebi -- Black College Wire   

Prairie View A&M University students remain shocked at the passing of freshman Tanika Owens, who failed to receive emergency medical attention after fainting in class. Many students have been questioning whether the main campus is accessible to emergency situations.

Senior business management major Patrick King said, "It feels as if this incident shows the student body where the administration's priorities really lie. They are willing to formulate ways to boost revenue and student enrollment numbers, but they haven't given any thought to bringing a more secure feeling to the lack of EMS capabilities."

Prairie View Panther
Tanika Owens
Students in Owens' class reported that it took about 45 minutes for an ambulance from North Cypress to arrive at the WR Banks Building where she passed out.

Senior biology major Erin Reed said, "I don't understand why it takes so long for EMS to respond to an emergency. If this remains a problem, obviously we need EMS on campus."

Bo Hashaw, director of Waller County EMS, admits that "it is a difficult campus to maneuver." This hinders ambulance drivers in their attempts to promptly respond to emergencies on campus.

Hashaw reports that in 2010, the system-wide average response time was 9 minutes and 48 seconds; the average response time to PVAMU was 9 minutes and 27 seconds. Waller County EMS is the nearest emergency care center to the main campus. It is neither a hospital nor emergency room, simply an ambulance service.

The National Collegiate EMS Foundation lists 181 U.S. colleges and universities that have an on-campus EMS group. The list includes 35 public institutions located in a rural area, characteristics similar to PVAMU.

Texas A&M University at College Station appears on the list more than once; it has three organizations for emergency medical services, two of which are volunteer-based. Miami University EMS is a division of the campus police department. Duke, Columbia, and Radford Universities all boast student-operated volunteer EMS groups.

Being a certified EMT is an excellent way for students to gain clinical experience. Nursing majors are required to have 60 hours of community service prior to graduation and would benefit from an on-campus EMS.

In the fall 2009 semester, junior biology major Asha Hobbs inquired about EMS at a "Speak Up or Shut Up" seminar. Hobbs brought the issue up again at the town hall meeting last week. "We are informing you that there is a lack of urgency in the term 'emergency,'" she said.

Gifty Gyebi writes for The Panther, the Prairie View A&M University student newspaper, which originally published this article.

Posted Feb. 04, 2011
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