Inside Sources source article | Comments courtesy of Matt Zavadsky
Very insightful OpEd from national and international EMS leaders – Note the “About the Authors” section below...
Will an Ambulance Be Available When You Call?
September 10, 2020
by Brian Maguire, et. al
Our emergency medical services professionals have been devastated by the pandemic.
By August 3, 35 emergency medical technicians and paramedics had died from the coronavirus nationwide, and the rate of COVID-19-fatalities for medics was about four times higher than the rate for firefighters.
Thousands of medics have been afflicted, many will never be able to return to their jobs. Now, across the country, many medics are retiring and resigning, and EMS agencies are struggling to staff ambulances.
Immediate action is needed to save the EMS system.
Since the start of the pandemic, EMS medics have endured overwhelming call volumes and worked endless overtime shifts caring for critically ill patients.
Insufficient supplies of personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves and gowns exposed the medics, their patients, their co-workers and their families to heightened risks of infection. Many medics slept in their cars to avoid returning home and potentially infecting their families. Three New York City medics committed suicide since April.
Before the pandemic, EMS agencies in the United States responded to more than 40 million calls for assistance each year. In addition to crashes and heart attacks, EMS is often the healthcare provider of last resort for people of color, the poor and the disenfranchised. Medics may be the only healthcare providers in many rural communities.