National EMS Week highlights work of EMTs during COVID-19 pandemic

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INDIANAPOLIS — It’s National Emergency Medical Services Week, and IEMS is highlighting the work they’ve been doing since the COVID-19 pandemic.

During this pandemic, IEMS has been in contact and transported more than 730 patients who were later confirmed to have COVID-19. Even with safety protocols in place, 8 employees tested positive for the virus.

“It’s a job that a lot of people don’t realize how tough it is. They are basically not just clinicians, but social workers on the street,” IEMS Medical Director Mark Liao said.

Liao said those 8 people are healthy now. This year IEMS has responded to more than 38,000 calls to service.

They’ve also treated and transported more than 1,400 patients who had flu-like symptoms since March 1st.

COVID-19 has also changed the way EMTs and paramedics train for the job.

Students in the Franciscan Health EMS Education program have gone from classroom training to online classes, and then back to smaller classrooms during the pandemic.

Clinical Coordinator and EMS educator for Franciscan Health Josee Miller said these changes have been mentally stressful for students, but they’re hanging in there.

“Students haven’t said maybe this isn’t for me and that’s been inspiring to see. There are still people who want to do this, even though it’s in an era of great change and difficulty,” Miller explained.

National EMS week goes from May 17th – May 23rd.

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