It's a tough job, but EMTs love it!

Lawton_This week is Emergency Medical Services week, and it honors those who make the choice to become an Emergency Management Technician (EMT).  They certainly don't choose the profession because of the hours - they're on call for shifts that can last 12 hours, and sometimes even 36.  But they say they are helping people, so it makes the grueling schedule worth it.

Kirk's Ambulance Service EMT, Basic, Cody Penland remembers many rewarding times.  But one really stand out in his mind.  "We had an infant that wasn't breathing, and I was with the partner I have today, and she helped him out," he said.  "It was just kinda neat to see that you have a hand in somebody's life and helping them out.  "It's a real big excitement when you get the pulse back, when you get them breathing again, it's a really great feeling, you've done something great for that patient and for their family," said EMT Paramedic Brittany Schulte.

They say that sometimes they will get calls about non-existent injuries.  For example, one call came from a mentally ill woman who claimed to be bleeding white blood cells.  They say calls such as that are more difficult than a typical emergency call.  "You try to handle it as professionally as you can," Shulte said.  "You try to tell them what you see, get their medical history, things like that.  Sometimes you can talk them into going to the hospital."

Other times, the injured don't want the ambulance to take them to the hospital, which can make the EMTs feel as though the community doesn't quite understand what they do.  "They think what we do is throw them into the ambulance and then drive them to the hospital," said Paramedic Director Don Knoles.  "There's a lot more to it - there really is."  "Sometimes they think we're here just to make people spend money every time they take an ambulance, and that we're gonna take everyone we can just to make more money," said Penland.  "But, that's not the case.  We're here to help, and if they don't need to go by the ambulance, we'll let them know."

The inside of an ambulance is a lot like a doctor's office - bandages, medication, and IVs for fluid loss, are just some of the supplies you may see in the vehicle.  "A lot of times we're going to be doing the same thing in the first 30 minutes that they're gonna be doing in the hospital," Knoles said.  "And we're going to be doing them in the back half of the unit."

It's the EMTs job to take care of a patient on the way to the hospital, or to assess whether they even need to go.  "Assessing their needs and what they need at that point in time, it goes all the way from just plain oxygen to pain drugs, cardiac drugs," Penland said.  "Whatever their needs are is what we give them in the back of the ambulance."