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Small Town EMS Providing Nationwide Care Services

Date: 2016-09-21
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Paramount Ambulance, an EMS provider in Dubuque, Iowa, provides a nationwide travel and escort service for those who are in need of long distance non-emergency medical transportation.

Palm Springs, California: Monday, April 4, 2016 Jim Lalla went to the doctor in Palm Springs for what he thought was a routine visit. Little did he realize, his world would be turned upside down on that morning.  “You’re in bad shape,” the doctor said, “You have stage 4 cancer with one to two weeks to live; a month if you’re lucky.” As Jim took a few minutes to overcome the jolt of shock, he knew he desperately needed to get home to Minnesota be with his four children. “I didn’t want to die elsewhere, but the doctor said I was too sick to fly and he didn’t think I would survive a car ride from California to Minnesota.  Returning to my family didn’t appear to be an option at that point.” That’s when Jim reached out to his family and asked for help. Julie Tschida, Jim’s daughter, caught the first flight out of Minneapolis to see him, while her brother-in-law, Ed Collova, reached out to a family friend, Dave McGowan to see if he would know of any way to get their father back home.  Dave McGowan recalled, “That’s when I thought of the only person in the country that would be able make it happen; Marvin Ney.  When everyone else tells you no, Marvin will make it happen.”

Above, Right: Julie Tschida, Jim Lalla, and Marvin Ney arrived safely in Minneapolis, MN.  

Dubuque, Iowa: “Dave called me on the evening of Monday, April 4, 2016 and said ‘My friend was just diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and needs to urgently leave California to travel home to his family in Minneapolis.  The doctors told him he only has a few weeks to live.” Details were set in motion from that point for Marvin. “As soon as I got off the phone with Dave, I called Jim’s son-in-law to find out more about his health. He verified he needed to get home as soon as possible.”  Jim had an appointment with his doctor on Tuesday, April 5 to drain fluid from his lungs and that’s when Marvin reached out to his doctor to make the trip home happen. “I explained to the doctor I’ve done it before; I bring my own equipment and oxygen machine. It was 2:00PM that the same day when I received the final okay and left Paramount Ambulance and headed to Madison, Wisconsin to catch the last flight out.  The doctor gave Jim 36 hours after his appointment before he wouldn’t be able to fly again, so this was an urgent matter,” stated Marvin Ney.

Within 24 hours of the original phone call, Marvin was in Palm Springs, California to see Jim.  They had a flight booked the following morning on Wednesday, April 6 for a flight to back home to Minneapolis.

Crisis Management: Marvin met Jim Tuesday evening when he landed in Palm Springs.  That’s when “some guy from Iowa” showed up with a bag of supplies and an oxygen tank to meet Jim for the first time and travel with him to bring him home. 

Left: Marvin Ney takes a picture with patient Jim Lalla to send to his family on the flight from Palm Springs, CA to Minneapolis, MN.

The following morning Marvin and Jim arrived at the airport at 9:00AM ready to make the journey home, only to find themselves with a delay.  “We spent the entire day in the airport which was eating away at our time left to travel.  In addition, the batteries were wearing down on the oxygen machine.  I always anticipate for crisis management and made sure we had Plan B, C, and D for backups. I was in the process of making phone calls to a friend back in Dubuque with a private jet,” said Marvin.  When boarding the plane that evening, Marvin knew he was going to need additional oxygen during the flight as the batteries were starting to wear down.  “I met with the stewardess because I knew we were going to need their oxygen during the flight.  Airlines only use their machines for emergencies only, so I told the stewardess, you can have an emergency at the end of the flight, or you can give me some of the oxygen now, and I’ll use my oxygen for the end of the flight.”  The flight home did not become a crisis, but it could have been if Marvin was not along to manage it.  Jim spoke candidly about the situation, “After the fact, he acknowledged the situation got a little ‘harried’ due to the concentrator battery situation; but we never knew that at the time as he was calm, confident, and decisive while being compassionate and empathetic.”

Destination: Home: Marvin, Jim and Julie landed in Minneapolis at approximately midnight on Wednesday, April 6 where they were reunited with the rest of his family.  A mere 48 hours after Jim was told he would not survive one to two weeks, nor likely to survive the trip back home.

“Four months later, I am doing well and spending my time with family and friends. My family has talked about how God sent us an angel during our time of need, and his name was Marvin Ney,” spoke Jim, “We will be forever grateful for him, his expertise, and quick response to my seemingly dire situation. Marvin still checks in with me from time to time; he’s just that type of person.”

Destination: Home services, provided by Paramount Ambulance in Dubuque, Iowa, provides Medical Escort Assistance to those who require extra help when flying on commercial airlines, as well as a non-stop transport through the Caring Coach motor home.  Destination: Home service requests are reviewed and qualified on a case by case basis. For information, see

- People, Places & Things/ (via Paramount Ambulance, 9/13/16)



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