ROCKDALE, TX — Life-saving medical attention, can you get it when you need it?
In Texas, we found the answer to that question often depends on where you live.
We showed you on Central Texas News Now, Milam County, between Temple and Austin, doesn't even have basic trauma care in the entire county since Milam's two hospitals closed in December.
Rockdale and other fire departments in Milam County now provide the ONLY emergency medical attention outside the county's ambulance contractor, in the entire county.
The closure of Milam County's two hospitals in December increased calls to firefighters, who often have little more than AED, CPR and Basic First Aid training.
Rockdale Fire Chief Ward Roddam says that puts people's safety at risk.
'In the world of Trauma there's a thing called, "The Golden Hour." And from the onset of that traumatic injury, if that patient or that victim can get to a trauma center within an hour's time frame or less, that patient has a greater chance of surviving. Obviously, if you're waiting 15, 20, 25...20, 30, 40 minutes for an ambulance to arrive for transport, your golden hour is greatly diminished," he explained.
But in lots of places, help often sits more than that "golden hour away."
As we reported, Texas only has 18 level one trauma centers in the entire state.
Where do you find them?
Mostly in the "Texas Big Four" areas of San Antonio, Houston, Austin, and Dallas-Fort Worth.
"There's a whole lot of Texas outside those four locations," Roddam commented.
Lucky for Central Texas, Temple has a level One Trauma Center, along with Lubbock, El Paso, and Tyler.
You'll find 2 level two, or "major trauma centers," in Central Texas in Waco and another in Temple.
Palestine has a level 3 or "advanced" Trauma Center.
And the state lists "basic" or level 4 trauma centers in Killeen, Lampasas, Taylor, Brownfield, Gatesville, Fairfield, Hamilton, Hillsboro, Groesbeck, Corsicana, Mexia, and Harker Heights.
When it comes to basic care, Central Texas seems to have available coverage... unless you find yourself in Milam County, which now depends on its three ambulances and a helicopter to get people life-saving medical help.
"There are are three ambulances for this county. This county is 1,022 square miles. This county has 25,000 residents. Three ambulances. That's tough to cover," Chief Roddam said.
The Milam County Judge and other leaders managed to negotiate a better deal for medical helicopter service.
They negotiated a deal for the vendor to only charge what insurance will pay for those life saving flights, and charge nothing if a patient doesn't have insurance.
But Milam County only has a handful of place those choppers can safely land.
For a full list on Texas Trauma Centers and their locations, go to: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/emstraumasystems/etrahosp.shtm