GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — This week, May 21-27, as we mark National EMS Week, we celebrate those working in this profession and offering care to people when they need it most.
13 ON YOUR SIDE spent some time at American Medical Response (AMR) in Grand Rapids. It’s one of the many agencies which trains and employs EMS workers in our area. Staff there say it's a demanding job, oftentimes without much recognition.
The job of an EMS worker is not easy. Jordan Zandee is a paramedic with AMR. He said the job “is a lot of pressure.”
Adriana Yskes is an EMT with AMR. She said, “We’re the first people to arrive on scene for a patient who’s perhaps critical. So, we see them first in their most vulnerable.”
In return for that hard work, “EMS is generally kind of thankless job. Not intentionally,” said AMR Operations Manager Alex Truman.
First responders interact with lots of people each day. Truman said those interactions can be “sometimes traumatizing, short period of time for the patient. So, that connection isn’t always made.”
Although the exchange may be life changing and even lifesaving, “We don’t always get that feedback. So, we have a very short timeframe that we’re with these patients,” said Truman.
At the AMR office, there is a display known as the “Tomorrow Wall” representing the many “thank yous” they so rarely hear.
“This is an opportunity to see the outcome,” said Truman.
There are several certificates representing surviving cardiac arrest patients. Truman said, “So, it’s kind of rewarding for them to be able to see that somebody that they were able to respond to and resuscitate successfully was able to walk out of the hospital.”
This led to another display, the “Today Wall.” Truman explained this is, “Where our folks have successfully delivered a baby on a call. Whether it’s in a house, or on a truck or somewhere in between.”
Those frames on a wall are revealing the impact EMS workers have on so many.
“We have people’s lives in our hands,” said Zandee.
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