As we approach the warmest temperatures in years, the last thing a sick elderly patient needs is a stifling hot ambulance ride.
But that's the health and safety concern regarding one area first responder firm -- recently ordered to take much of its fleet off the road.
Questcare operates a private ambulance company that serves Floyd, Pike, Magoffin and Johnson counties in Kentucky.
The Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services (KBEMS) tells our sister station that all of Questcare's county licenses are under investigation for alleged regulatory violations.
Earlier this month a KBEMS inspector ordered 13 Questcare ambulances off the road for failing to meet requirements for internal temperature controls or other mechanical failures. Reliable sources tell our sister station that some units were transporting patients in100-plus-degree heat with no air conditioning.
One former Questcare ambulance team says they left a company that they say often put pure profit before patient health and safety.
Starlie Driskill and John Cruse say, "It doesn't matter if the ambulance has air conditioning, brakes that work, tires, a faulty engine.
There's a set protocol from KBEMS that I have to down that vehicle. And they told me if I did that, I would be jobless."
Questcare employees refused to comment.
Company President Kevin Fairlie told Yohe over the phone that there was a recent inspection. Firlie said there were ambulance air conditioning issues, he did not know how many. He said it was all routine, though.
"We pull it off the road, fix it and put it back on," Fairlie said, referring to when something breaks.
KBEMS says in mid June, three Questcare ambulances were returned to service after passing a follow up air conditioning test. That leaves 10 still sidelined
The Kentucky EMS board says sidelining 13 ambulances is a large number. They tell us the formal complaint into Questcare stems from a variety of sources.