Thanks to EMS professionals

Published 10:15 pm Thursday, May 24, 2018

The 44th annual National EMS Week is being recognized this week, and it’s good to take some time to honor these public servants who don’t always get the positive press they deserve.

Unless you’ve been in the field, it’s hard to understand the role these experienced and highly trained professionals play in emergency response. When they get the call, they must drop whatever they’re doing — even if it’s sleeping or about to sit down for a meal — rush to a scene and step into one of the worst moments of a person’s life. They use their training to calmly assess a situation, determine a patient’s illness or injury and the best way to provide lifesaving emergency treatment for it and then do so. They must soothe and communicate with terrified loved ones and other onlookers and navigate environmental hazards. They continue to provide that treatment in the back of a moving vehicle all the way to the hospital while communicating with the professionals at the hospital about the needs of the patient who is about to arrive.

Sometimes, the patient dies before they can get to the hospital. If they arrive with a living patient, they often never know the outcome. They see some of the worst things possible. And they must turn around and do it all again at the earliest possible moment.

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The annual EMS Week celebration was authorized by President Gerald R. Ford in 1974 to celebrate EMS practitioners and the critical work they do. Several local professionals spoke with News-Herald reporter Alex Perry for a story that published in Thursday’s paper, and they described how important it is to keep calm, rely on their training and work as a team with other first responders to make sure patients are cared for.

Pat Edwards, an advanced emergency department technician for Bon Secours Health Center at Harbour View with 27 years of EMS experience, nicely summed up the motivation of the men and women who work in this important field: “You choose to do it because you love it and because you want to help people,” she said.