Memorial-Hermann Salutes EMS Groups

Emergency Medical Service organizations in the Houston area have been recognized and honored for the way they do their jobs. The honor comes from the Memorial-Hermann Hospital system, as Jim Bell reports.

Memorial-Hermann executives and local dignitaries went to Houston City Hall today to present the hospital system's "2008 Breakthroughs Award" to thirty EMS groups that cover the Houston area. Memorial-Hermann CEO Dan Wolterman says it's not possible to overstate the importance of fast response and getting the patient to a hospital quickly, and hospitals couldn't do what they do if not for EMS paramedics and EMTs.

"They're the first responders, they have to make the tough decisions, they work closely with the Memorial-Hermann Life Flight, in case it needs to be a faster transport, and then they work very close with our emergency room centers and our physicians to do what's right for the patient when they pick them up and all the way to the hospital." 

Dr. David Persse of the Houston Fire Department Ambulance Service says because of the highly trained EMS groups, countless people are surviving strokes, heart attacks and major injuries.

"Today for example in Houston, if someone has a cardiac arrest, their heart stops beating, we work to get the heart started again. We're cooling them, we're giving them hypo-thermia therapy in the back of the ambulance, that transitions right into the emergency department and right up to the ICU."

Dan Wolterman summed up how everyone feels about the EMS groups.

"Hopefully none of us ever need them, but if we do, we've got the very best right here."

Jim Bell, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.