Letter: A thanks to those who save lives and are EMS Strong

To the Editor:
The American College of Emergency Physicians has designated May 17-23, 2015 as National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week. Their theme for 2015 is “EMS Strong.”
When most of us encounter a serious or sudden injury or illness, we often say “call an ambulance.” While the life-saving equipment and transportation provided by that ambulance is important, what we really mean to say is “call EMS,” because EMS is much more than that ambulance. It is a system that includes the most important component: People.
EMS providers include a wide-range of individuals. They are state-certified Emergency Medical Responders (EMRs), Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), and licensed paramedics. Whether they receive a paycheck or are volunteers, they are all professionals who receive the same training to save a life.
It is the people in EMS who make EMS Strong. It is these dedicated people who are willing to face the dangers of a busy highway to rescue an accident victim. It is these people who understand they will witness situations that most of us would not want to see. It is these people who will be there for us when we feel helpless, scared, and vulnerable. It is these people who accept that when they are called, they are responsible for someone’s life.
EMS Strong is the initial care that is provided in the field — a home, a workplace, or perhaps on the side of the road — care that brings lifesaving skills, medicine, and technology directly to the patient. EMS Strong includes the coordination among dispatchers, law enforcement, and firefighters. It is the ongoing care and communication with physicians while transporting patients in the ambulance. It is the continuity of care with nurses and technicians once in the hospital emergency department.
EMS Strong is the realization that while the flashing lights and sirens of the ambulance, the crisp uniforms, and the badges are reassuring, it is the people working inside that ambulance, who possess lifesaving skills, who really matter.
St. Vincent’s Medical Center is proud of our partnership with EMS. On behalf of the Emergency Department and the entire hospital, we thank the EMRs, EMTs, and paramedics who are part of our team. Thanks to these individuals, we have a system that is EMS Strong.
Dr. Doodnauth Hiraman
Chairman, Emergency Services
EMS Medical Director
Ken Kellogg
Interim EMS Coordinator
St. Vincent’s Medical Center