Those of you who know me know that my interests lie in a few particular places: writing, reading, music, a select number of shows, and medicine. Hopefully by this time next year I will be entering into medical school. For the past few years I have volunteered as an EMT-Basic with the Texas A&M Emergency Care Team. In the BZPRPG I play as a medic. Medicine has been an enduring interest, and the people of medicine have had a lasting impact on my life.
As I worked towards getting my EMT-B, I obviously had many personal encounters with medics. These are amazing people. Many have foregone college studies, but in my experience they know more about the body and how to treat it than most pre-med students I have met. In the US it takes 6 months of study, along with hours and hours and hours of hospital rounds, ambulance ride-outs, and skills testing, culminating in a very difficult and nerve-wracking exam just to become an EMT-Basic. From there you can take courses to become and EMT-Intermediate (6 more months) or jump straight to EMT-Paramedic (a whole 'nother year). A Paramedic has one-and-a-half to two years of just study under their belt, having spent well over a thousand dollars, and that's just at the start of their career.
And from there they go on to treat drunks, drug users, shooting victims, panic attacks, asthma patients, diabetic emergencies, attempted suicides, burn victims, broken bones, people involved in car accidents, wrecks, building fires, collapsed houses, and dozens and dozens of so many kinds of calls with the same poise and patience you expect from the doctor sitting in a quiet exam room down the street. They work alongside law enforcement and fire fighters to provide pre-hospital care, and they do it well. At least, they do in general.
EMS deaths are not as common as Police and Fire, but they happen. Nor is there any single listing that I could find which reliably gives us the names of those whose shifts have ended. But even if we don't know their name or face, we know that they served. This week we remember those men and women in White (and blue, and black, and other colors).
P.S. - the best EMS quote ever is "Air goes in and out. Blood goes round and round. Any deviations? We have a problem."