EMS coordinator talks history during National EMS Week - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

EMS coordinator talks history during National EMS Week

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MT. VERNON-- When medical emergencies happen, they're often the ones who respond.

It's National Emergency Medical Services Week, a week that's been recognized as such since 1974.

"If you don't use them yourself you kind of forget they're there, but they're always there when you need them," said Robert Hyman, EMS Coordinator for the Samaritan Hospital EMS System.

However, prior to the late 1960s they wouldn't have been there. That's because Emergency Medical Services really didn't exist as we know them today. 

Hyman said the birthplace of EMS was following the Vietnam War.

"People were not dying from trauma, but they were dying from neglect," he said, "Meaning that there was a delay in getting them to definitive care at the hospital."

Now highly trained EMTs and Paramedics carry with them the skills they need to provide ample care until a patient is taken to a hospital.

"The paramedic profession has really evolved from when I first started. Paramedics were advanced providers, but now you have paramedics tending to sicker patients," he said.

It's a field that continues to evolve every day. A new program that in its early stages would put EMS providers back in contact with patients even after they're out of the hospital.

“Essentially a program that takes paramedics out of their traditional role,” Hyman said, “Have them do follow up care when the patient is discharged from the hospital to make sure they are doing their follow up care, taking their medicine and their appointments are scheduled.”

Hyman said that kind of care can prevent a person from further injury or illness after their stay in the hospital. It's care that can be done by the men and women we see driving by in an ambulance.

“They're the unsung heroes in our community and they highly trained professionals that deliver a lot of high quality care outside of the hospital,” Hyman said.

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