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Why Paramedics Are Now Needed in the Emergency Room

May 18, 2020

The fear of coming into contact with COVID-19 has many people making dangerous gambles with their health and avoiding emergency care until they are in crisis. But at Hartford HealthCare (HHC), that’s when experts in pre-hospital medical care are pressed into service.

Paramedics like Tom Latosek at HHC’s Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, is part of a new program there that places them in the emergency department (ED), where they work alongside other clinical staff to help incoming patients.

“The pandemic has created an environment where we need to think a little more out of the box,” said Kevin Ferrarotti, system director of emergency medical services and EMS network development at HHC. “Bringing paramedics into the ED is a way to bring in pre-hospital expertise.”

Latosek and other paramedics, Ferrarotti said, have critical and acute care training that has become essential in caring for patients who come in sicker than usual because they’ve delayed care during the pandemic.

“They need intense intervention, and the more hands the better,” he said.

Charlotte Hungerford just introduced this change in care practices, but such use of paramedics has been the norm in other HCC hospitals for years, Ferraotti said. The paramedics have also been integral in helping treat patients coming in with COVID-19 symptoms and making sure those needing care for non-COVID conditions are kept separate and safe.

“We are working in the hospital to deliver care we normally deliver in the field,” Latosek noted. “Our mindset, our training is focused on resuscitation and stabilization.

“We’ve adapted to the role and have been integrated into the ED to add a different aspect of care.”

Such “pre-hospital care” is just one invaluable contribution paramedics and others in emergency medical services bring to HCC and its patients, Ferrarotti said, noting that this is National EMS Week, recognition established in 1974.

“It’s an essential piece in how we deliver care,” he said.

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