Trending Topics

‘We’re all gonna die': EMS director’s disregard to question on slow response times surprises Tenn. officials

Meigs County EMS Director Tony Finnell surprised officials when asked about response times at a public safety meeting


Meigs County/Panopto

By Bill Carey

MEIGS COUNTY, Tenn. — Commissioners in Meigs County are at odds over the best ways to improve their county’s EMS response times.

Debates regarding funding methods for these improvements have left county commissioners hesitant to endorse increased taxes, WTVC reported.

At a recent public safety meeting (1:54:00 mark), EMS Director Tony Finnell faced scrutiny about the response times. His response reportedly left many attendees surprised.

“Ma’am we’re all gonna die,” Finnell said. “My suggestion to you is to get your heart right with God.”

Nadia Oliver expressed shock at the perceived lack of empathy from Finnell in response to community concerns.

“Many of us were stunned by the level of insensitivity shown by the EMS director,” Oliver said, noting that there had been two fatalities in the northern part of the county.

Oliver also shared a personal experience highlighting the impact of what she describes as inadequate resources from Meigs County emergency services.

“My husband suffered from congestive heart failure, and I knew that emergency services wouldn’t arrive in time,” Oliver said. She chose to drive her husband to Sweetwater Hospital instead of waiting for EMS assistance.

WTVC reached out to Finnell about his comment. He stated he was at a conference and did not respond to their questions.

Meigs County Mayor Eddie Jewell stated that following the commissioners’ request, the University of Tennessee County Technical Assistance Service conducted a case study on the EMS service. Commissioner Zach England expressed disappointment with the case study, noting it did not provide the “depth of real data and analysis” he expected, and stated that “a clear consensus on this issue remains elusive.”

England also mentioned ongoing efforts to identify a reputable third-party company that can supply detailed data to evaluate EMS response times effectively.