Upon the recent publication of the controversial article titled “EMS a Broken System,” there has been a renewed awareness of the inner workings of the multifaceted Emergency Medical System as a whole. I believe the article was articulated from a narrow perspective with skewed half-truths. It is unfair for anyone to generalize based on a few individuals who made some bad choices. It is time to give recognition to the men and women involved in EMS that give of themselves tirelessly 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Acknowledgment to not only those who have procured paid positions within EMS, but to those who volunteer their time to help others. Volunteers are the men and women who often work full-time jobs during the days, nights, or weekends and yet respond to the page of a 911 call.
Volunteer services and first responders are the people that reside within remote geographical areas and are a critical link within the chain of EMS to initial lifesaving interventions prior to the arrival of an advanced level provider. They are not in it for the pay or self-glorification, but out of a sense of duty and a desire to help others within their community. Most responders do not receive any personal compensation for the calls they go on. Volunteer services do not bill for services they perform unless they provide the transportation for the patient to the hospital, and the supplies they use are paid for by local taxes or donations. They have quick response times and are able to give the inbound advance level of care precise directions to the call and how to best approach the scene in addition to acting as a landmark upon our arrival. They often have vital information about the patient already recorded, and on one occasion they shoveled a path from the road to the house for easy access to the patient with the cot. With the general population becoming more obese, it is often difficult to lift heavy patients onto the cot and into the ambulance; we are very appreciative of the additional lifting assistance. On calls such as a motor vehicle accident or a trauma where multiple interventions are needed to be done simultaneously and in a short amount of time, the extra helping hands is to a great advantage.
I am a paramedic specialist and fairly new to the Centerville community. I am very impressed and eternally grateful with the cooperation and assistance that is consistently displayed in not only EMS but in every facet of public service. The Centerville Fire Department is very proactive within the community and is a great asset to the EMS system in their partnership with responding to 911 calls. Centerville Police Department, the Iowa State Patrol and the Sheriff’s Department all play an intrigue roll in public safety and mutual aid.
In closing, I would like to acknowledge the members of the Moravia, Moulton, Mystic, Cincinnati and Exline for their hard work and commitment and who tirelessly sacrifice themselves for others. EMS is not a “broken system” at all and I would challenge the author of the article to forgo his pay to help those in their greatest hour of need.