This year Mecklenburg EMS Agency, better known as Medic, celebrates 25 years of service to the community. In November 1978, approximately 40 employees were hired to staff 4 ambulances and respond on emergency medical calls. They ran more than 19,000 calls that first year.
One Medic with more than 20 years of local service was recently asked "What's changed in your job over the years?" The response from paramedic John Tompkins was simple and eloquent. "Nothing, I still take care of people," he said.
Twenty-five years after Medic ran its first call, that focus on patient care has not changed. However, the technology, equipment and clinical care provided in the prehospital setting are now dramatically different.
Today Medic is an organization made up of almost 300 emergency medical services professionals. In the next 12 months these men and women expect to answer, process and respond to more than 83,000 calls for emergency medical help. They'll utilize state of the art equipment, technology and skills to reach their patients and to treat them.
In 1978, medics were often called ambulance drivers – the community believing they just transported sick or injured people to the hospital and did not provide medical care. Today paramedic field teams deliver the first round of emergency department care to their patients. They can perform sophisticated treatments and clinical interventions and deliver lifesaving care and medications. Clearly, they are not ambulance drivers.
What matters most to these professionals, and what keeps them in this profession? "Just hearing thanks for a patient is enough," said Brian Edwards, a 17-year paramedic. "I know we make a difference in their lives, but knowing they are appreciative means the world to us," he said.
MEDIC Web site