To mark the 43rd-annual
National EMS Week, Health Calling talked to Lisa Hogue, paramedic supervisor for Covenant
Ambulance Service to learn what they do to serve Covenant Health patients.
How is Covenant Ambulance Service different from other area EMS services?
“Covenant’s Ambulance Service personnel can do anything other
EMS services do – the only difference is they are permitted by the
City of Lubbock as a transfer ambulance not the 911 EMS service. We spend
more time with each of our patients vs. 911 EMS service. We may transport
the same patient every day they are in the hospital. We get to know our
patients on a first-name basis and they become like family to us,”
Why do they need to be exactly like other EMS services if they’re
usually only going a few blocks?
“When a patient is in the hospital they must remain in medical care
during transport for a procedure,” said Hogue, saying some can’t
sit up, others may need to be on a ventilator and some are coming from
critical care ICU.
Plus, they need professionals who can intercede if medical attention is
needed during transport.
Covenant Ambulance Service personnel may need to intercede roughly two
out of every ten “runs,” said Hogue.
“They may need pain control, could be nervous, have an airway blockage,
get agitated, have blood pressure spikes or low blood sugar,” she said.
Regardless of whether medical attention is needed during transport, Hogue
said her team’s goal is to “have them be in better condition
when we drop them off than when we picked them up.”
Where do they go and why?
“The bulk of the 7,000 annual transports are between
Covenant Medical Center and
Covenant Specialty Hospital,” she said, talking about the facility handling long-term patients
who may stay for more than 30 days. And that facility doesn’t have
imaging, so Hogue’s team takes patients to
Covenant Medical Center for imaging, endoscopy or to operating rooms.
Do they go outside Lubbock?
“Yes, however the majority of our out-of-town transports are with the
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit team to pick up newborns,” said Hogue. “We do take patients
home to residences or facilities outside of the city of Lubbock when we
How many people work for the service and how many ambulances do they have?
Covenant owns four ambulances and staff three of them Monday through Friday,
said Hogue. On weekends they staff one ambulance. The staff has eight
full-time paramedics and five full-time EMT-basics with additional staff
on call with more than 250 combined years of experience.
How did you, Lisa Hogue, end up in EMS?
“Since I was 8 years old I have had systemic lupus and had the need
to request for EMS help several times,” she said. The experience
made her want to help others – “to respond to someone else’s
needs in a time of crisis. Be their shining light.”
She grew up in Arkport, N.Y., a small town near Buffalo, N.Y. and came
to Texas to escape cold weather, landing in Sweetwater, where she got
her associates degree in paramedicine.
She became a paramedic in 2000 and worked for AeroCare before joining Covenant
Ambulance Service in 2010, becoming supervisor four years ago.
Not every story has a happy ending, but Hogue said even in those situations
her team can take patients to life-extending care that gives families
more time together even when that time is soon to end.
“I was working here as a medic on a truck and we were transporting
a young lady in her thirties dying from cancer. We got called because
she had a seizure and needed to go to surgery. When I arrived in the room
she was in bad shape, unresponsive and going downhill fast. We loaded
her up, put her on a cardiac monitor, protected her airway to get to surgery.
She survived that surgery and we went on to transport her two more times.
The last time we took her to palliative care where we were told this would
be the last time we transported her. She passed peacefully a short time
later surrounded by her family and friends,” said Hogue.