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When minutes and seconds can make the difference between life and death, every moment matters when responding to emergencies. That is why Intermountain Health is honoring first responders and emergency medical services personnel it partners with each day to save lives, as part of National Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week (May 21-27).
The national recognition acknowledges the accomplishments of first responders who provide emergency medical services to communities throughout Utah and the nation.
“EMS Week is a time to honor emergency medical services personnel and their frontline care that can dramatically improve the survival and recovery of our patients,” said Adam Balls, MD, senior medical director of emergency medicine and trauma for Intermountain Health. “This year’s theme is, ‘Where Emergency Care Begins,’ and timely intervention from medical professionals, before a patient reaches the emergency department, can make all the difference in a crisis.”
If you see someone who is part of EMS or a first responder, Dr. Balls suggests taking a moment to thank them for their service.
This week caregivers at Intermountain Health hospitals will be doing just that – stopping and saying thank-you to local EMS professionals with a variety of events, including breakfasts and lunches – as a way of recognizing all they do for the community.
“EMS is a team effort and a vital public service,” said Capt. Steve Roberson, from the Murray City Fire Department. “Murray Fire stands ready to provide lifesaving care to those in need 24 hours a day, seven days a week – every single day of the year.”
EMS crews engage in thousands of hours of specialized training and continuing education to enhance their lifesaving skills.
Murray Fire EMS crews often bring their patients to Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, which is a Level I Trauma Center, one of only two adult Level I trauma centers caring for trauma patients in Utah.
For critically injured patients struggling to survive after a head-on car collision or a patient who’s been shot, the difference between life and death can often be the care they receive at a Level I Trauma Center, which provides the highest level of comprehensive medical and surgical care available to trauma patients.
A Level I Trauma Center is the highest-level trauma care and means that Intermountain Medical Center can provide comprehensive trauma care for any major traumatic injury, including mass casualty situations, and has 24/7 comprehensive coverage by surgeons, specialists, and other members of the highly trained trauma team.
Located in the center of the Salt Lake Valley, Intermountain Medical Center is one of the busiest Level I Trauma Centers, treating more than 4,000 trauma patients last year.
“With anyone experiencing a medical emergency, time is of the essence and our EMS partners are the critical first contact in a chain of healthcare providers,” said Tom Nelson, MD, medical director of the Intermountain Medical Center Emergency Department. “Healthcare is a team effort, and the overall success of the medical team is dependent on all providers involved. It’s a privilege to care for patients alongside our EMS colleagues.”
Natalie Mollinet, 32, who was hit by a car in Lehi while running earlier this month, knows first-hand the valuable role emergency responders play in emergency care.
“Luckily someone called 9-1-1 and the Lehi EMT’s quickly responded and brought me to Intermountain Medical Center,” said Mollinet.
Mollinet suffered a broken jaw, broken nose, broken wrist, lost three teeth, and received so much road rash on her face, legs and shoulders that Mollinet, a mother of two, says her husband was shocked at the damage she had received to her face.
“The EMT’s stabilized my neck, so I could only look up during my ambulance ride to the hospital,” said Mollinet. “But their voices, instructions, and medical care kept me calm. I can’t thank them and all the doctors, x-ray techs, surgeons, and my dentist for helping put me on the road to recovery.”
“Whether it’s a 9-1-1 call for someone who is having difficulty breathing or responding to an auto-pedestrian accident our EMS crews often don’t get the credit they deserve,” said Dr. Nelson. “We should all remember to so show some appreciation. Not just this week, but always.”