Thank you for stopping in, my name is Dave and I am now a “retired” Paramedic and a State Licensed Instructor Coordinator... I became one of the thousands of EMT’s and Paramedics that have been injured each year in the Line of Duty.
On a hot May afternoon I was working a 12 hour overtime shift, the unit that I was working, had been running since my partner and I went on duty at 0700. (7:00 a.m.) My partner and I were sitting in a hot parking lot taking (it’s called sitting point) a short break when we were dispatched Emergency to a pedestrian struck.
The sun was blazing and the temperature was already in the mid 90's, I placed our unit in drive, my partner acknowledging the call. Arriving on scene within five minutes of the call, Fire Rescue was already on scene, and was still attempting to assess the patient. My partner and I were advised that the patient had not been struck by a vehicle, instead he was under the influence of "Heroin,” and had instead of being struck he had fallen from his bicycle. I attempted to explain to our patient that we where concerned of possible head, neck and spinal injuries and that I would be holding his neck straight. (Using c-spine manual traction)
As I took hold of the patients head and neck (mid-line cervical traction) the patient suddenly became very combative. The patient grew very violent, and at the same time suicidal as he attempted several times to jump in front of vehicles on a road that was heavily congested along with fast moving traffic.
As we attempted to restrain the patient from sustaining additional injuries and possible death, our patient suddenly turned and attacked me. The patient became so overwhelmingly violent and developed amazing strength from the heroin. Without warning our patient literally picked me up and threw me into the spout of a fire hydrant.
My back struck the nozzle of the hydrant; causing my legs to go suddenly numb, with sudden and severe pain in the thoracic and lumbar areas of my spine, followed by a severe burning sensation in my back running down both my legs. My Partner was also attempting to restrain the patient to no avail. I tried to get up repeatedly but my legs were numb, the pain stabbing and crushing.
I radioed our dispatcher that Police assistance was needed, and that I had been injured. I was able to eventually pull myself up, finally with my partner and the firefighter’s assistance we were able to restrain the patient and place the patient into the back of our unit. The patient had been restrained to a backboard with the use of leather restraints.
My legs were still numb and my legs were becoming heavier and harder to move, when suddenly our patient snapped his leather restraints. The patient once again jumped up from the backboard and once again was fighting my partner and I as well as the Firefighters. The patient attacked me again pushing me with a great deal of force into the main oxygen tank cabinet, my body crumbled to the floor. The back doors were opened at this point by a police officer; the officer, firefighters and my partner finally restrained the patient again.
I was unable to move my legs, the burning sensation and pain in my back was enormous. My partner began to assess and treat me for spinal cord injuries. A second ambulance was called to our scene. I was stabilized by the other crew and transported to the hospital. Shortly after arriving at the emergency room, I was diagnosed with a lumbar spinal cord fracture, in addition to the fracture; I was also diagnosed with several ruptured and bulging discs in the thoracic and lumbar regions of my spinal cord. My career as a Paramedic (“street medic,”) ended that afternoon.
My family has been by my side through each of my eight back surgeries (and counting) As of December 2006, I suffered another of several set backs and have lost feeling and function in both legs. I have continued to work at rebuilding my life ever since the day I was attacked in the line of duty. Despite all of the surgeries and I continue to suffer from bone and muscle pain. I continue to loose function from the nerve damage that was caused by the attack.
The patient who attacked me was charged with “misdemeanor assault,” which defined by Michigan Law defined as punishable by 90 days in jail and a $500.00 fine. The patient that attacked and assaulted me was sentenced to 90 days in jail and a $500.00 fine. In the State of Michigan prior to my attack had no provisions similar to that of a Police Officer or Firefighter which makes a felony if our patent had attacked the Firefighters on scene. The State of Michigan’s Legislature amended the act and was signed by then Governor John Engler that now makes assaulting a Medical First Responder, an Emergency Medical Technician or a Paramedic a Felony.
I completed the State of Michigan’s Paramedic-Instructor Coordinator program, after completion of the program I wrote and passed the State of Michigan’s Paramedic-Instructor Coordinator Licensure Exam. I continue to contribute to EMS in a variety of roles and currently am conducting a three year study regarding “Dangers faced in the Line of Duty.”
Today's Paramedic’s remain silent hero's; facing many of the same dangers encountered by both Police Officers and Firefighters. The number of Paramedic's killed in the line of duty continues to rise dramatically every year. The number of Emergency Medical Technicians, and Paramedics disabled “In the Line of Duty,” continues to increase at an alarming rate. Emergency Medical Service Personnel are likely to suffer from both short term and Permanent disabilities which have been caused by injuries and illnesses that have occurred from such events such as accidents, assaults, exposure from communicable diseases and post traumatic stress syndrome. And the newest cause of disability is the respiratory and cancer causing effects caused from the inhalation of debris on September 11, 2001.
Assaults on Paramedics continue to rise in an alarming rate; Finally States are finally changing laws that define assaults on EMS Personnel Felonies where they used to be treated as misdemeanor. Paramedics are killed in traffic accidents responding to Emergencies. Today's Paramedics face death and injury and disabilities every day, yet their heroic sacrifices and Heroic efforts remain out of the public eye do to the media's erroneous reporting and omitting the acts of bravery of these men and women.
Examples of their heroic deeds range from the EMS response of the crash of Flight 232 in Sioux City, to the acts of EMS bravery in Oklahoma. During the rescue efforts at the Edward Morrow Federal Building and the Medical Response to Columbine High School and treating of the wounded students while under fire. Paramedics continue to serve with unselfishness efforts in aiding the injured even at the risk of placing themselves in harms way.
Although I will never again work in an Ambulance, I still work to help my brothers and sisters of Emergency Medical Services. It's hard and sad to see the highly trained Professionals still referred to by news media organizations as "Ambulance Drivers," this referral is truly the greatest form of disrespect to the EMS Hero's. Paramedics face the same dangers as Police Officers and Firefighters. At the WTC on September 11, 2001, the number of EMS personnel killed has reached 42 deaths and still climbing. In addition on September 11, 2001, 116 Basic EMT’s and Paramedics were injured many of the injuries created permanent disabilities.
Emergency Medical Services went through a transformation in the late seventies and early eighties where training and the type of equipment utilized has changed dramatically. Thereby producing a new EMS System with the most highly trained professional’s serving the public today.
DAVE'S EMS HISTORY
Hello and Thank you for stopping in, my name is Dave I am now a “retired” Paramedic and Paramedic Instructor Coordinator caused after I was attacked and assaulted by a patient who over dosed on heroin. Prior to the injuries I received, I worked as a Paramedic both on the street and at a Trauma Center for over 26 years.
After high school, I attended a large University earning a bachelors degree in Criminal Justice, with the sole purpose of becoming a Police Officer. I was employed by the County Sheriffs Department, and after eight months with the Department, I decided to attend Grand Valley University Emergency Medical Services (EMS) (the program was eventually dropped by Grand Valley and inherited by Davenport University) with the intent on becoming a "State Licensed Paramedic.”
Over the next two years as I worked at the Sheriffs Department, I attended classes at Davenport University’s Center for the Study of Emergency Medical Services. I took and completed the first two terms of study of the E.M.T. Basic program; I subsequently took the State of Michigan’s Written and Practical exams and became a State Certified Basic E.M.T. After achieving the basic certification I was transferred to the Counties Emergency Unit Division. (Local EMS click here)
I completed my training at Davenport, and obtained certification as an "E.M.T. Specialist", I took the State of Michigan’s written and practical E.M.T. Specialist certification exam and was licensed as a State certified Emergency Medical Technician Specialist. After completion of the Specialist level, I entered Davenport Paramedic Program along with the EMS Management Bachelor’s program. I completed the Bachelors Degree in EMS Management and also completed the Paramedic program and was certified as a "Paramedic."
After I completed the requirements and certification, I continued to work with the Sheriffs Department Emergency-Unit Division, however Emergency Medical Services was quickly becoming more and more important to me, ever since childhood all I ever wanted to do was to be a Police officer. My Grandfather had been in Law enforcement and a Sheriff in Northern Michigan as well as a Firefighter; my Grandfather was and remains both my hero and my inspiration.
As I continued working for the Sheriff’s Department as a fully licensed and credited Paramedic, I became more conflicted and eventually decided to leave the Sheriff’s Department and seek work solely as a Paramedic.
By this time, I met and fell in love with the most special woman anyone could ever hope to meet, we were married and we have raised five wonderful children. In addition to my jib at the Sheriffs Department, I chose to work part time for Bud’s Ambulance Service, (a private company (Local EMS click here) as both a Paramedic as well as the company's Operations Manager. I eventually resigned from both the Sheriff Department and Buds and was hired by Mercy Ambulance Service (A Nationally known Company click here .)
While at Mercy, I also worked part-time for Rockford Ambulance Service. (Local EMS click here) ) in addition to working part-time for Rockford, I also was working as a Paramedic in a West Michigan Trauma Center.
Like so many fellow EMS Personnel, I have seen so many awful tragedies in my community, words could never truly describe the variety of suffering that I was seeing on a daily basis. Medical and Trauma tragedies occur every day and does not discriminate by age, sex, religions, or income.
Since becoming a Paramedic and later a Paramedic Instructor Coordinator, I have had the privilege of helping to bring new live's into the world in the back of ambulance's sometimes far and once just a block away from a hospital. I have also seen the horror of a car wrapped around a tree on a prom night, amongst the twisted metal, empty beer cans scattered about, and treating the dying or permanently scarred teenager that will never again see the beginning of a new day, or forgetting the events of the tragedy.
I have seen the sorrow and terror in the face of a veteran who has served his country and now is a lost face on a street corner, hungry and poorly clothed, their life turned to the addiction of drugs and alcohol. Who has become a forgotten member of society, and now lays sick from the outside environment in which he lives. He is the target of laughter, insults and assaults by the very public in which he served to protect.
Over the many years in Emergency Medical Services the call I have responded to have also included a little boy who has fallen and caused a laceration; to a secretary who developed chest pain and suffered from an acute myocardial infarction. (Heart attack) Other Medical Emergencies include diabetic emergencies, allergic reactions and seizure disorders are just a few to name...
Over the many years Trauma calls ranged from the senseless intrusion of a bullet that has torn into the flesh of a young teenager, over a pair of tennis shoes, to a police officer who has taken an oath to serve the public; then has been shot down viciously in the pursuit of a wanted felon. Trauma is not limited to gunshot wounds; it has a wide dimension of mechanisms from a vehicular accident to falls in a home or business. The fragileness of the human body has never ceased to amaze me. EMS (Emergency Medical Services) is not limited to trauma. Illnesses such as heart conditions, diabetic emergencies, allergic reactions and seizure disorders are just a few to name.
As a Paramedic, I was trained, in the skills of treating both the sick and injured. My office consisted of a specially designed Ambulance which are outfitted with emergency warning devices, which are equipped with several thousands of dollars of sophisticated medical equipment and medications, that transforms the Ambulance into a rolling "emergency room.".
These high tech units’s serve as mobile intensive care units and are used to treat and transport the sick and injured to local hospitals and trauma centers. Every E.M.T., (Emergency Medical Technicians) faces a fight against the clock, a clock known in EMS as the “Golden Hour.”
Emergency Medical Services is still a young profession that is still shaking off the dust from the old days when ambulances where known as “meat wagons and band aid wagons." Today EMT's, and Paramedics are too often incorrectly defined by the media and the uniformed as "ambulance drivers.” These Men and Women who work in EMS are truly dedicated and professional, and always ready to respond to your cry for help.
August 2011, marked the tenth year on-line for my site Dave’s EMS Headquarters. Dave’s EMS Headquarters, is a not for profit personal website, which went on-line August 5, 2001, as a website dedicated to the men and women who work in the field of Emergency Medical Services, (EMS ) as Medical First Responders, Basic Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics.
Dave’s EMS Headquarters provides information and historical material about Emergency Medical Services including the many dangers medics face, EMS line of duty deaths, editorials, and many links to other public safety sites.
When Dave’s EMS Headquarters website debuted in August 2001, it consisted of five site pages: Home Page, EMS History, EMS Links, EMS Line of Duty Deaths and an EMS Education page. Also included in the original site was my biographical data, which included the day an overdose patient became combative, (this was prior to EMS staging for violent scenes) on that unforgettable day, I was seriously injured after he assaulted my partner I, despite several operations the assault resulted in a career ending with disabilities.
A month after Dave's EMS Headquarters went on-line, the events of the terrorist attacks occured on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, which shook America and the world, scenes broadcasted across the world of the enormous and fearless rapid response by Police, Fire, and Emergency Medical Services Personnel. The images were repeatedly played the brave men and women of Police, Fire and EMS Services entering and exiting with victims over and over. The scene’s in New York, Washington D.C. and the field in Shanksville Pennsylvania, showed public safety agencies working feverishly to rescue and treat the injured with no regard to their own safety. Followed by the collapse of the two World Trade Center towers dropping straight down taking so many additional lives, which included hundreds of both on duty as well as off duty Firefighters, Police Officers, EMT’s and Paramedics.
On September 11, 2011, we will once again remember all who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, Ten (10) years later, with many events planned. We all remember and honor those who have lost their lives over the past ten (10) years. We also must do better in assisting Police, Fire, EMS, and Construction workers who have developed respiratory illnesses, various cancers, and those suffering from PTSD and other issues, caused by their the response and exposure over the weeks searching for survivors and those killed at ground zero.
Since Dave’s EMS Headquarters went on-line on August 5, 2001, the website has undergone many revisions and rebuilds. Dave’s EMS Headquarters has grown over the past ten (10) years, and grouped into EMS topics sections which include:
EMS History, National EMS Week, EMS Education, EMS Dangers, EMS Line of Duty Death’s, EMS Memorials/Poems, EMS Editorials/Poems EMS Injuries & Action Pictures, EMS & Public Safety Links, EMS Legal, September 11, 2001 Memorial Pages EMS Associations with Police/Fire/U.S. Coast Guard, EMS Legislation/Challenges faced today and many single EMS topic pages.
Dave’s EMS Headquarters website features guest editorials, poems, and news, with outside material always being properly credited, as well as use of hyperlinks to material not created by Dave’s EMS Headquarters. At times material posted to the site has over the course of three major rebuilds was posted missing the appropriate credits originally documented, when errors like this occur; I immediately correct the material with the proper credit information. If copyrighted material is found, that material is removed pending appropriate permission. If inadvertent copyrighted material is found, upon notification the material is removed in less than twenty-four hours. Dave’s EMS Headquarters is also a member of Clip and Copy powered by ICopyright a news service that provides permission to utilize copyrighted news articles and graphics through a network of News Agencies including magazines, T.V. news, and newspapers.
As Dave’s EMS Headquarters is a personal website, not for profit, the site provides free EMS and public safety links, as well as free advertising services, and job openings for Police, Fire, and Emergency Medical Services. The site also list new and pending legislation pertaining to Emergency Medical Services.
I spent my career as a Paramedic and Paramedic Instructor Coordinator, until I sustained thoracic spine and lumbar spinal fractures, along with several ruptured spinal discs along with syactic nerve damage causing numbness and weakness in both legs. Despite several operations, and other medical procedures, the damage sustained is permanent. The injuries described above accurred adter being attacked and assaulted by an overdose patient who turned violent.
Many are unaware of the numerous dangers that our EMT’s and Paramedics face daily. Dave’s EMS Headquarters has documented over the past ten (10) years. Various dangers are faced over the course of an EMT/Paramedic response to a call, while on scene, and during transport.
Some of the dangers faced include but not limited: Distracted drivers which have cause disabling and fatal accidents, Road rage against medics are on the rise. On scene medics, face many different dangers such as being assaulted by patients, victims of shootings, being struck by inattentive and intoxicated drivers, as patients are treated on roadways and highways, which have resulted in injuries, disabilities, and deaths.
Recently a Firefighter/Paramedic came under gun fire and seriously injured responding to the scene of an auto accident. Police killed the suspect after a gun battle and the subjects car was found with several guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Medics face dangers over the course of getting to and treating victims such as Columbine, the Oklahoma bombing, and the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, that resulted in many medics sustaining serious injuries and subsequent illnesses. Many EMT's and Paramedics lost their lives prior to and following the collapse of the twin towers.
Over the course of transporting patients medics have had patients become violent, or ambulances being hit endangering both medics and their patients. Over recent years, federally mandated new safety designs focusing on ambulance compartment restraint systems and equipment storage reducing flying objects. The new ambulance safety designs are beginning to show positive results. Over the couple of years EMS Agencies have also began implementing reflective painting schemes to help reduce road scene accidents as well.
EMT’s and Paramedics are frequently sustain back injuries from lifting, and over the past few years there has been a concern pertaining to largely obese patients, which requires many medics to assist in trying to move patients. EMS Agencies are being forced to purchase specially built ambulances and stretchers to aid medics and reduce back injuries through specially built and expensive bariatric ambulances.
Dave’s EMS Headquarters has grown to feature our brothers and sisters who work as "flight medics," whose vehicle of transport are specially designed Medical Helicopters. Medical Helicopters play critical roles, especially in rural areas where ground ambulances are either unavailable or due to prolong extrication times that provides faster transport of patents. Also smaller hospitals recieve patients, stabilize, until they can transfer critical medical and trauma patients to trauma centers, specialty hospitals such as a burn units, and pediatric hospitals. When distance and condition warrant more rapid transport, than a ground ambulance, EMS Helicopters are utilized. Dave’s EMS also pays tribute to In the line of duty deaths of the brave men and women.
Since the debut of Dave’s EMS Headquarters, ten years (10) ago on August 5, 2001. Many changes have occurred both in EMS, and the website. This site has been designed and modified over the years reflecting these changes. I would like to thank you all for your visits to date, this site has surpassed 1.25 million visits. I also thank the many individuals, EMS personnel, organizations, EMS providers, and News agencies who have assisted in making this site better by allowing the utilization of various poems, articles, editorials, true stories, pictures and graphics.
I also thank all who have taken the time, to leave many kind comments on the site’s various guest books, as well as the many e-mails that have been sent over the past ten (10) years. I have been honored to have so many webmasters who have added my site to their “sites link pages.”
Dave;s EMS Headquarters began featuring five (5) years ago, an “EMS site of the month,” as well as a “Non EMS site of the month,” that can be found on Dave’s EMS Headquarters “homepage and Links pages.” In addition Dave's EMS Headquarters has awarded both an “EMS site of the year,” and a “Non EMS site of the year,” which site visitors annually vote for over the months of November and December over the past three (3) years. Dave’s EMS Headquarters all provides website awards to other outstanding websites through out the year.
In closing, I am always striving to improve Dave’s EMS Headquarters, with your continued suggestions, and the kind sharing of poems, editorials, news, pictures of EMS units, equipment, and events, the site will continue to grow as well as improve. Dave's EMS Headquarters will continue to be updated, revised, and share with it's visitors, what Emergency Medical Services is, as well as the dedication, service, and sacrifices of today's EMT's and Paramedics. I would also like to thank my wonderful and beautiful wife, Katherine and our five wonderful and talented children for their love, support, and for their help with the site. As well as support with all the surgeries.