19. Don’t fear the EMTs.


By Vadim Yerokhin

It’s 1 a.m. on a Saturday night and your night is at its peak—you’ve had a few drinks, you’ve been chilling with your friends and you’ve finally decided to check out tonight’s frat scene. On the way to your favorite frat, however, you have become the unexpected victim of an angry bush. As you’re caught up in heated defense of your status as unrivaled beer-pong champ, the ill-intending bush executes its evil plan. You fail to see the bush until it is too late, and by that time you are already on the ground trying to figure out what had just happened.  Before you know it, the Campus Safety officer who saw you fall has decided that you are too drunk to function and has called the EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians).

Meanwhile, the EMT crew, sleeping in the Richmond basement receive a call about a severely intoxicated male who is unable to walk on his own.  The EMTs grab their gear and rush to the scene, where you are trying to convince Campus Safety that you are fine.

Following New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) protocols, the EMTs begin asking questions, taking your blood pressure, pulse, etc.  You are not happy about this.  After all, the frats are closing in the next 45 minutes and you have to get on the dance floor to burn all of those calories you’ve just consumed in the form of ethanol.  You start to argue and possibly try to fight your way out of the situation.  You may curse at the EMTs and Campus Safety or you may even take a swing or two at the jerks.

This is a common situation which UCEMS (Union College Emergency Services) personnel face almost every weekend. It is unfortunate, but many do not understand our actual purpose on campus. We are not hired by the school to give you points or send you to the hospital.  We do not share patient information with Campus Safety or the school administration. We are called to a scene to provide medical care and assistance to students. For example, if you feel uncomfortable giving your answers in front of Campus Safety officers, you can express this concern to the personnel on scene and if the situation allows for it (which, if you’re not combative, it most likely does), then we will ask the Campus Safety officer to create a more private environment for evaluation. We do not ask you about the drugs you’ve done tonight to report this back to the school administration; patient care reports are classified and are only read by designated UCEMS Lieutenants.

Here is an insight: the more cooperative you are and the more sober you’re able to present yourself, the less likely we are to advise for your transport to the hospital.  When you are in this situation and you want to minimize your chances of being transported, the best idea is to be as cooperative as possible in order to allow us to carry out our evaluation quickly.  As all members of UCEMS are also college students, many of us take partying very seriously (when we are not on duty, of course) and we understand your frustrations. A good number of the calls we receive are from students who are in the wrong place at the wrong time  If we’re able to carry out our evaluation smoothly, and we  see that you are not overly intoxicated but are just an unfortunate victim of an attacking bush,  then we will most likely let you decide whether or not you want to go to the hospital. If, however, you’re uncooperative and we’re unable to gauge your mental status and obtain your vitals, then most likely you will be going to the hospital. Too many times, students have gone to the hospital for the most part because they did not allow us to carry out our evaluation.  We want to make sure that you are in a medically stable condition and are in a mentally stable state; otherwise, we cannot legally let you go back about your business. At this point, I would like to make an important point clear: we never send students to the hospital because we don’t like them. We send them because NYS DOH protocol requires us to do so in certain situations.

Additionally, I understand that not all students like to spend their free time on the weekends partaking in the activities described above and that there are also many students who do partake in the above activities responsibly.  We are not only there for you when you are in a situation similar to the above—we are on duty starting at 8 p.m. on Friday night and ending 8 a.m. on Sunday morning.  Therefore, if you need help with anything during these times, do not hesitate to call Campus Safety (518-388-6911) and ask for UCEMS. Whether it’s a twisted ankle, a cut or anything else you are concerned about, every member of our crew is certified in New York to deliver emergency medical care.

In summary, be responsible. If you do end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, please be respectful and cooperative, and everything will be a lot easier for everyone.


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