Hartselle Woman Says Freedom To Choose Denied By Ambulance Ordinance

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Elizabeth Morgan, of Hartselle, says she would prefer to use a Decatur-based ambulance service for trips to the dialysis clinic. (Photo: Al Whitaker, WHNT News 19.

HARTSELLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A Hartselle woman says she’s being denied the opportunity to choose which ambulance service carries her to her dialysis appointments. Elizabeth Morgan has to travel from her home in Hartselle to a dialysis clinic in Decatur three times a week. She prefers to use a Decatur-based ambulance service. But that company says because of a new Hartselle ordinance, they can no longer come to her home to pick her up.

Elizabeth Morgan says her health has declined to the point that life now revolves around those trips to the dialisys clinic. She says that’s about all she has to look forward to. Her husband used to take her but a traffic accident has left him unable to drive. And so she came to depend upon First Response Ambulance Service of Decatur.

“Their people are really nice, they’re always on time, I’ve never had any problems what-so-ever out of them,” Morgan said.

But ambulances based outside of Hartselle can no longer come into Hartselle to pick patients up because of a new city ordinance. And that’s the contract the city recently signed with Crossroads Ambulance, making Hartselle their exclusive territory. (

We spoke with the owner of Crossroads Ambulance in Hartselle, and Candi Hayes tells us what Hartselle has done with their ambulance ordinance is essentially the same thing Decatur did with theirs a number of years ago. Calls that originate in Decatur must be handled by a Decatur-based company. It means Crossroads Ambulance here in Hartselle can pick Mrs. Morgan up and take her to her dialisys appointments in Decatur, but by law they cannot go pick her up and bring her home.

Hartselle Mayor Don Hall says the ordinance was necessary to protect the city’s only EMS provider from outside competition. Both he and the owner of Crossroads Ambulance say they will follow-up with Mrs. Morgan and will make certain her trips to the dialisys clinic are as pleasant as they can be.

Mayor Hall, by the way, says much like Huntsville did a number of years ago, they have to protect the interests of the area’s primary EMS provider in order to insure there will always be adequate care available when it’s needed.

–Al Whitaker