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Honoring community heroes: National EMS Week May 18-24

Every day, under virtually any circumstance, there are emergency medical services providers (EMS) that are ready to serve the community at a moment’s notice.
To recognize these extraordinary people, the week of May 18-24 has been designated as National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week. Sponsored by the American College of Emergency Physicians, the week is intended to recognize EMS personnel for the vital public service they provide.
Emergency medical services personnel consists of emergency medical technicians (EMT), paramedics, firefighters, emergency physicians, emergency nurses, educators, administrators, police and others.
Basil Selden, M.D., Medical Director of the Tyrone Hospital emergency room said, “A variety of people play a role in making sure people get medical care in an emergency. All of these individuals fit into the broad picture of emergency medical services.”
Dr. Selden said EMS personnel have a level of training and skill that allows them to serve as surrogates in the field for the hospital’s emergency room (ER) staff. “They establish radio contact with us when they are out in the field. They provide the first care that a patient receives, on the scene, and on the way to the hospital. They play a critical role in stabilizing a person’s life and getting them to a healthcare facility quickly.”
Dr. Selden said hospital personnel receive important information from EMS personnel in the field. “The information we receive from EMS personnel allows us to make necessary preparation to continue treatment when the patient arrives in the emergency room.”
Preparation may mean having certain staff or equipment on standby or in certain cases, making arrangements to have a patient transported to a trauma center or a tertiary care facility with a certain specialization such as pediatric trauma or burns. Tyrone Hospital provides a helicopter pad for those who require air emergency transport from the scene or from the hospital.
Nursing staff in the Tyrone Hospital emergency room said EMS personnel also play an important role in helping a patient transition to the ER. They provide a lot of emotional support and reassurance to patients and families on the way to the ER and once they arrive.
“EMS personnel have a demanding job,” said Lucinda McLarren, RN Emergency Room Manager at Tyrone Hospital. “They are under tremendous pressure; they have to respond quickly and they have to make flawless decisions.
Mrs. McLarren said EMS personnel also provide a great deal of community service. “When we have special events or health screenings at Tyrone Hospital, they are there to help. They go beyond the call of duty.”
Dr. Selden and Mrs. McLarren said it is helpful to be ready, in case of a medical emergency. People are advised to keep handy their medical history, a list of any allergies, a list any medications they take – including over the counter medications, and the name and phone number of their family doctor. Such information is of help to EMS personnel when they are administering care and in communication with the hospital emergency room.
“Access to quality emergency care dramatically improves the survival and recovery rate of those who experience sudden illness or injury,” said Dr. Selden. “The contribution members of the EMS team makes in the community, is invaluable.”