"Rather ten times for nothing than one time too late..."
Ede Jager 30 years driving an ambulance
Wednesday 14 May 1986

Winschoten - The phone rings. Ede Jager jumps up "Garage De Grooth speaking." tells a voice on the other side of the line "Serious accident, place will be transmitted."Jager puts down the horn, grabs his white coat and drives straight like an arrow to the accident spot.
A Winschoter ambulance man to the backbone is on the road again. Since 17th December 1956 he serves humanity when he and the company, Garage De Grooth, are asked to do so.
"When I started 30 years ago, I drove the car alone. We didn't have radiotelephone back then. We drove with good and beautiful material though. Already then I drove a Chevrolet. Nowadays ambulances are custom made, while back then normal cars served as ambulances. Of course in my starting days we didn't have the equipment we have now. We only had a first-aid kit,

a modest oxygen apparatus and a stretcher." Remembers Ede Jager.He himself lived on the Ludensweg (Ludens Road). When he had to leave with the ambulance he received a phonecall after which he grabbed his bike and cycled, like a cycleracer trying to break a record, to the garage.

"You were tired as heck then, but glad you could sit behind the wheel. Often you were dependend on bystanders or relatives to give a hand." Explains Jager immediatly continueing with an amusing anecdote "Once I had to go to a lady, whose bedroom was in the attic. to get there you had to use a ladder. Luckily her husband was a strong fellow, who offer to carry her down. Good, I said, better throw me a blanket first so I can put that on the stretcher. The man grabs an quilt and throws it down towards me. But the quilt gets caught on a

nail and rips. Feathers flying everywhere and everything white. Even in the hospital there were still feathers flying around..."


Those are the nice things, which according to Jager are need in his line of work. Over the years a lot has changed. Nowadays every comfort possible can be offered. For instance there are eight paramedics (including Jager himself) and two nurses employed. "Concerning that the times for the patient have changed for the better. In our company we always have striven for perfection. We have the most sophisticated equipment to monitor the heart and respiratory system, also we can extended sets of splints and non shock adjustable stretchers." mentions Jager with moderate pride.

He still enjoys his job, although he does

notice that he's getting older. His wife noticed that, though she says that through the years she has adjusted to her husband's job

"Of course, you have to be a certain kind of person. You must like the work, you'll have to be energetic and flexible, but still carry some kind of warmth", describes Jager.

An example of that is an experience with a patient who had to be transported to Wagenborgen (Mental institution), but didn't want to take place on the stratcher. "I offered him then, that I play the patient so he could be the paramedic keeping an eye on me. So it happend and the ride went without any difficulties.

In an area with 72000 inhabitans Jager encounters a lot of things. But he doesn't talk about the misery of his patients. proving his integrity with this. In 30 years of working in the ambulance

service, the Winschoter learned one important motto "Rather ten times for nothing, than one time too late."

In that perspective Jager closes his story with a fitting anecodte. "Some years ago, we had to pick up the same guy three times because of an reported accident. Each time it turned out to be false, the guy himself admitted that he had called us just for fun. Still we received a fourth emergency call. When we arrived with extreme speed it was the same guy lying in the road again, again he was not wounded or anything. In the hospital a surgeon we tipped off, put the guy in a plastercast, after which the Joker had to report into the hospital every week for a check up!..."