Grady Emergency Medical Services, which provides medical ambulatory service to residents in Baldwin and Hancock counties, is reaching out to residents in a much different way.
As in any emergency, the ultimate goal is to help save lives.
That’s the aim of a new service, known as D.O.S.E., which is now underway in Baldwin and Hancock counties through Grady EMS, according to John Gonzalez, one of the area supervisors for the Atlanta-based ambulance service, and who also serves as coroner of Baldwin County.
D.O.S.E., “Direct on Scene Education,” is an educational program aimed specifically at reducing infant deaths. The Baby Safe Sleep Initiative was developed by Capt. James Carroll of Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue in Florida and Jennifer Combs, MSN, ARNP, of Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Broward County Inc.
Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Broward County (Florida) Inc., was founded based on the D.O.S.E. Baby Safe Sleep Initiative Training Manual for First Responders.
“It’s a program that was first started in Fort Lauderdale,” Gonzalez told The Union-Recorder during a recent interview. “They noticed that they were having too many infant deaths.”
Since the program began, Gonzalez said there has been tremendous success.
“They have cut their infant fatality rate by 50 percent in Fort Lauderdale,” Gonzalez said.
Because of the success there, officials with the D.O.S.E. Baby Safe Sleep Initiative Training Manual program have selected for First Responders with Grady EMS to participate in a pilot program aimed specifically at reducing the high number of infant deaths in Baldwin and Hancock counties.
“The Georgia Department of Community Health chose Baldwin County to be the pilot county of the new program,” Gonzalez said. “Baldwin and Hancock counties have one of the largest per capita infant death rates in the state.”
On average, three infant deaths occur per week in Georgia, he pointed out.
“Every week, three babies die,” Gonzalez said. “Those deaths are from either SUID (Sudden Unexpected Infant Death) or SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).”
Unfortunately, such deaths can’t be prevented, but Gonzalez, like so many others in the health field, contends these deaths can be minimized.
“We know that a lot of them are preventable, though, especially the babies that die from suffocation,” said Gonzalez, who works such cases not only in his EMS capacity but also in his capacity as coroner. “I’ve seen way too many of these types of cases over the years, and every one of them [is] so sad.”
Gonzalez explained that the new D.O.S.E. educational program through Grady EMS will help parents and grandparents and others in the care of the infants know about certain things that might prevent the death of an infant.
“When our people go to a call and they notice a crib with toys or blankets inside, or even a woman expecting a baby, they will be able to hand them what is called a special packet,” Gonzalez said. “This packet contains several cards that tell them exactly what they should be looking for in order to keep the infant baby from suffocating.”
The packet he referred to is called a Baby Safe Sleep Kit.
The cards also have phone numbers so parents and guardians can talk with someone for additional information.
“There may be someone without a baby crib, and in that situation, we can provide one for them,” Gonzalez said. “A grant is available through a state agency that can provide someone that doesn’t a baby crib with one.”
The state agency is known as Georgia Safe to Sleep, whose efforts were adapted from the National Safe to Sleep Campaign led by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. For more information visit GeorigaSafetoSleep.org.