West Hattiesburg ambulance service case delayed - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

West Hattiesburg ambulance service case delayed

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

The City of Hattiesburg versus Lamar County ambulance service dispute will be heard by a chancellor to be picked by the Mississippi Supreme Court after all chancery judges in the area recused themselves from hearing the case. Forrest County Judge Ronald Doleac was the latest to recuse himself, withdrawing himself from hearing the case on Tuesday.

The city and the county are fighting it out in court over who will service the portion of West Hattiesburg that lies in Lamar County. Hattiesburg designates AAA Ambulance as its primary emergency services provider while Lamar County employs ASAP Ambulance.

"They're our provider for our, for everything in Lamar County," said Lamar County Board of Supervisors attorney Perry Phillips. "We have an obligation we feel like to at least make sure that they're involved in the ambulance service in Lamar County."

"It's I guess a multi-layered issue in terms of the City of Hattiesburg being able to have control of who provides the services within the corporate limits of the city," said attorney for the city Charles Lawrence.

The parties both say the issue isn't the quality of patient care but rather a business dispute. However, safety could become a factor: if Lamar County officials win in court, they plan to redirect 911 calls made from the city out to the county dispatch center, which could delay first responders.

Copyright 2012 WDAM. All rights reserved.

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