One of the ambulances on Ocracoke. Photo: C. Leinbach

After announcing to the public that he and two other Hyde County EMS management staff resigned, David White, EMS director, said more of the staff resigned.

White had sent an email to the Ocracoke Observer about his resignation on May 23 that included a long list of problems the EMS Department is facing.

On May 29, White sent another email that was posted on social media and which said a total of 13 had resigned from Hyde County EMS within the past month and another is on extended leave.

Hyde County Manager Kris Noble confirmed that White, Deputy EMS Director Jeremy Kaiser and EMS Training Section Chief Hank Stowe have resigned as well as Kimberly Perry, FTO/supply officer and Tavoccous Elliott, a paramedic, all fulltime. As for the others on White’s list, all were part-time.

“Only one worked at all for Hyde County in 2023,” she said. “Some have not worked since 2020 and one has never even pulled a shift. They were not on any current staffing schedules, and we did not as a result have to cover any shifts.”

In his first email, White, who is a paramedic and has worked for Hyde for 12 years, said he is leaving for better pay as a paramedic on another EMS unit and not as a manager shouldering the weight of an entire county’s healthcare.

“We are extremely understaffed and under budgeted, we can not accomplish almost anything we need to this year,” he reiterated in his May 29 communication.

“We need a new EMS station on Ocracoke, we need 100,000$ in repairs to the mainland base, we need four more personnel for a QRV on Ocracoke giving them guaranteed 24/7/365 healthcare access, we need eight more personnel on the mainland for an additional EMS unit due to call volume.  The entirety of our EMS ambulance fleet is failing and in the shop constantly. We need five new EMS units.  This list goes on and on.  This will only continue until Hyde County catches up with the times of supply and demand and increases the pay rates for EMS providers.”

White’s last day is June 17 and Kaiser’s is June 10.

The resignations came during the county’s budgeting process, which is scheduled to continue until June 12 when the commissioners approve next year’s budget.

In a statement to the Observer on May 31, Noble said there will be no disruption of EMS service.

“Our existing staff are dedicated to continued care for our citizens and have voiced their support and willingness to get through this transition,” she said. “If the county was in need of additional outside support, we can pull from our neighbors in surrounding counties and from our partner agencies including the N.C. Office of Emergency Medical Services.

“We have had tremendous support from our neighbor counties and partner agencies including N.C. Emergency Management, NCOEMS, the N.C. Association of County Commissioners and regional health care coalitions.”

She said the county looks forward to “to restructuring and establishing new leadership within the department and the opportunity to embrace new leadership and new ideas.” 

Randal Mathews, Ocracoke’s county commissioner, said Hyde County Emergency Management Director Joey Williams has jumped in to help and that the county is going to bring in a retired or EMS administrator to help reorganize.

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