San Antonio Express-News Source Article | Comments Courtesy of Matt Zavadsky
Outstanding depiction of the lives of EMS workers on the front lines of the pandemic. Especially the critical backbone of the inter-facility work EMS providers do!
No highlights – it’s ALL a must read!
Tip of the hat to MedStar’s Ken Simpson for finding this article!
Nice audio/video summary embedded in the link below:
Ambulance crews respond an average of once an hour to transport COVID-19 patients to hospitals, long-term care facilities or to their homes. For paramedics, it’s a daily battle against two invisible enemies — the virus and burnout.
By Marina Starleaf Riker
Photos by Lisa Krantz
The fluorescent lights in the back of the ambulance glare above paramedic George Lombardo as he leans over to check his patient’s breathing, steadying himself as the vehicle races at 65 mph down the empty highway.
The man is dying from COVID-19. A machine pumps oxygen into his lungs through a breathing tube. His chest rises and falls in a robotic rhythm.
The EMS crew picked up the elderly man at a hospital and is bringing him to hospice care. He had signed a do-not-resuscitate order. If his heart stopped, no one was to intervene.
With six minutes to go, the ambulance veers suddenly into an empty Bill Miller Bar-B-Q parking lot and brakes to a stop.
The man has no pulse.
Lombardo makes a phone call, speaking loudly because his respirator mask muffles his voice. He unfastens the patient’s oxygen mask. It no longer is needed.