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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

EMS: Courage And Compassion In Action

By Shawn P. Godfrey, EMT-Paramedic
12:00AM / Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Village Ambulance Services Operations Manager and paramedic Shawn Godfrey submits a twice-monthly column about emergency medical services to iberkshires.com
Welcome to "EMS:Courage and Compassion In Action," a twice-monthly column written by Village Ambulance Services Operations Manager and paramedic Shawn Godfrey. Godfrey's columns will appear on every other Tuesday and will focus on the reality of the emergency services medical profession.

When iberkshires graciously agreed to print my writing, I was flattered and surprised, because I wasn’t quite convinced that the public was ready to read real-life events illustrating the trials another human being may go through when sick or injured. Then it occurred to me that the rightful goal of the column should consist of quelling the misconceptions frequently viewed on television and in movies.

The televised reality of an EMS (Emergency Medical Services) professional bears little, if any, resemblance to the reality of our world. Many lives are saved in the holding of hands, a tender embrace, and sometimes in moments larger than ourselves. They are not saved in misleadingly promulgated heroism or fictitious performances. I believe a bimonthly column will not only allow you to look through the eyes of your hometown EMS (Emergency Medical Services) providers, but perhaps gain some insight into what the EMS vocation is truly about.

Because I’m a paramedic, it seems everyone keeps asking me “what is the worst call you have ever been on?”

After seventeen years and immeasurable patient contacts, I couldn’t possibly choose a particular event, however, I will tell you, each incident is often challenging and, at times, overwhelming. There were several times that I wished I could have done more or hoped for a better outcome, but that is to be expected when the welfare of one human being rests in the hands of another human being. Paramedics, like their patients, are human and are not infallible, despite the mistaken belief by the layperson or, in some unfortunate cases, the paramedic. We are disillusioned to assume that “no one will die in my ambulance” or “…not on my watch.”

This brings me to the question: Why do I do it? Is it the lights and sirens, fast driving, patient saves, or adrenaline rush? Of course there’s an affinity to each of these in my spirit. That’s what lured me to the trade as a 17 year-old boy in the first place! But as I grow older I can honestly say these take a back seat to compassion, and compassion is only good when you have heart, and heart is only good when you realize that every human being is just as important as the next. There is no comparable feeling to look into the eyes of a patient who grabs your hand and tells you "thank you" for saving their life, alleviating their pain, helping them to bed, or simply providing them with an extra blanket.

My devotion to helping people has taught me that even in death, there is life. So, I do this job for you, the community, because I am reminded every day that you are human and I am human as well.



Your Comments
Post Comment
What a great idea to have you write about your work. Now your writing talent will not go wasted while you are saving lives.
from: Annaon: 01-26 00:00:00-2007

Move over Johnny Gage! Dude you're Hot!
from: EMT Stalkeron: 01-23 00:00:00-2007

I never imagined a column reflecting this side of public service could be so interesting, as well as informative. I look forward to reading this column on a regular basis. Nice work, Shawn!
from: Stephenon: 01-22 00:00:00-2007

Great article! Can't wait to read more stories.
from: Markon: 01-22 00:00:00-2007

It is always nice to hear the real side of EMS, not just what we see on TV or in the Movies. Often it's the simple things that compel us to go on. Great article Mr. Godfrey!
from: Art Sachson: 01-19 00:00:00-2007

What a tastefully written, and refreshing article. It's a releif and so comforting to know that, even if the outcome is not what we wish for, that there was a caring and sympathetic medical proffessional with our loved ones in their final moments. This is certainly a column that I will be looking for in the future. There needs to be a "behind the scenes" point of view for the regular public to understand what really happens in the lives of EMS, and other medical proffessionals. Thank you!
from: Melissaon: 01-19 00:00:00-2007

It's so important to know that there are people like Shawn Godfrey whose hand we can grab and say "thank you" for saving my life. In this age of over-publicized violence, it's very refreshing to read Shawn's beautifully written article.
from: stu masterson: 01-19 00:00:00-2007

This is a great column and I look forward to reading it in two weeks. I'm also a paramedic and I think there needs to be some exposure to our side of the story if you will. Good job keep it up. JLQ
from: Jeff Quimbyon: 01-19 00:00:00-2007

Its really nice to hear from people ,not just doctors, in the medical proffesion ,who contribute so much to the community. Paramedics, Emt's, and all the supporting personnel in the medical field are tremendously unappreciated.
from: bernieon: 01-19 00:00:00-2007


 
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