By Josh Resnek
You need an ambulance. You call Cataldo.
The ambulance arrives moments later.
You are being taken from your home in a stretcher and then you are loaded into the ambulance by the trained paramedics who understand what is ailing you, and where you need to go.
You have it in your mind that you want to go to the Massachusetts General Hospital or to Beth Israel.
However, the paramedics are taking you to the Whidden Hospital.
What’s up with that?
Calling Cataldo Ambulance is not like calling for a cab or an Uber.
The cab will take you exactly where you want to go.
The paramedics take you where you can best be treated for what appears to be ailing you.
This is what the city council learned Monday night from Cataldo founder and chief executive officer Dennis Cataldo.
He answered some biting questions from Councilor Wayne Matewsky.
Matewsky expressed some righteous and rather indignant opinions about the ambulance company’s policy of taking you where they want to take you instead of where you need to go given what is ailing you.
“I don’t think that’s a fair practice,” Matewsky told Cataldo.
Cataldo answered forthrightly: “The level of emergency determines where you are taken,” he said.
“Our EMT’s determine the clinical condition of the person they are examining and transporting and the decision is made to take that person to the right facility,” he added.
What he was saying is that ambulance transport is not about choice. Rather, it is about need.
“Level 1 traumas are all transported to Massachusetts General or the Beth Israel Hospitals. The Whidden doesn’t have the facilities or the staffing to accept level 1 trauma patients,” he said.
Last year 54% of all those transported to a hospital arrived at the Whidden – which Cataldo insisted – is a great place to be transported to when you are in need of medical care that is not level 1.
“Everett residents are very lucky have a facility like the Whidden Hospital. In Lynn, the hospital there is being closed. That’s a city with 100,000 people without a hospital,” said Cataldo.
Cataldo Ambulance last year transported 4,000 Everett residents.
Chelsea resident were transported 4,000 times.
Revere residents were transported 5,000 times.
Cataldo Ambulance now operates and serves 17 communities.