Commentary: EMS providers play pivotal role in saving lives

The American College of Emergency Physicians has designated the week of May 19-25 as National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week. This year’s theme is: “EMS: One Mission. One Team.”

EMS providers include state certified emergency medical responders (EMRs), emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and licensed paramedics. Whether paid or volunteer, they are all professionals who receive the same training to save a life.

They are supported by many others, including emergency dispatchers, firefighters, police officers, educators, administrators, Emergency Department technicians, nurses, and physicians. Together, these individuals design the systems and conduct the activities in the field that allow delivery of emergency medical care.

This emergency medical care includes the same critical treatments that are initially provided in hospital emergency departments, such as CPR, defibrillation, and administration of oxygen and other life-saving medications. EMS providers splint fractures and assist in emergency childbirth. They are also trained to manage someone who is in crisis.

A wide range of knowledge and skills

EMS requires a wide range of knowledge and skills to provide this direct patient care in a relatively uncontrolled environment — all while ensuring safe transport to the hospital.

Once in the hospital Emergency Department, EMS provides for a smooth transition of care. They are the “eyes and ears” of the emergency physicians who will want to know how a motor vehicle accident scene looked, exactly how badly the car was damaged, and where the victim was found.

They provide verbal and written reports on their patient assessments and of the care and interventions they provided.

‘Part of our team’

St. Vincent’s Medical Center is proud of our EMS providers and truly considers them part of our team. Our gratitude goes out to all the EMRs, EMTs and paramedics who respond to help the sick or injured in our community, providing this critical care and safe transport.

During National EMS Week, please join us in thanking these individuals who work in the field of Emergency Medical Services. We appreciate what they do and recognize that our focus is the same:  Our patients. One Mission. One Team.

Ken Kellogg is EMS coordinator at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, and Dr. Bennett Goss is EMS medical director at the same hospital.