Baystate Mary Lane Hospital Supports EMT Training

WARE —It’s snowing heavily, and there’s no sign of it letting up anytime soon. A 50-year-old man who had spent the afternoon shoveling starts to have chest pain shortly after he sits down for dinner. He calls the local rescue squad, knowing he needs emergency care as soon as possible. The local rescue squad responds within minutes.

Years of sleepless nights and interrupted weekends are par for the course for Paul Lupacchino, EMT with the West Brookfield Rescue Squad. Yet he continues to work as a volunteer with the squad, and has recently enlisted his daughters — Laura, an EMT; and Patty, a first responder and EMT student — to follow in his footsteps. Soon, all three will respond to this type of emergency call and to countless others.

Lupacchino serves as president of the Rescue Squad, and as an emergency medical technician and firefighter in West Brookfield; by day he is a carrier crash firefighter and rescue technician for the 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield. Most recently, Lupacchino has been the driving force behind recruiting 10 residents to attend training to become EMTs for their town.

Baystate Mary Lane Hospital, recognizing the growing need for personnel to serve as EMTs in the many communities that surround the hospital, negotiated with paramedics Don and Carol Benoit of Quality EMS Educators Inc. of Worcester to provide a class at the hospital. Twenty-eight students from the towns of Ware, Warren, West Brookfield, Hardwick, New Braintree, West Brookfield, Thorndike, Monson, and Belchertown have completed their training and will soon sit for the state Emergency Medical Technician Examination.

The course, which began in early October and ended on Feb. 26, met twice a week and on some Saturdays. Students worked through the holidays, ate numerous suppers in the hospital cafeteria, and put their personal lives on hold in order to complete the training, which included 150 hours of class time and 10 hours of observation in the Emergency Room.

Caring for patients in an emergency situation requires much study and practice; in addition to class time, students are required to read a 36-chapter textbook, complete quizzes at the end of each chapter, and pass tests that include both written and practical demonstration of their knowledge and skills in everything from patient assessment to back boarding and spinal immobilization.

According to Mark Tuttle, RN, BSN, MA, nurse manager of the Baystate Mary Lane Hospital Emergency Room, 17,000 patients are treated at the hospital’s ER annually. “Our EMTs are a vital part of the safety infrastructure of our community, and the first link in the chain of care for our residents.”

This paramedic-turned-emergency nurse went on to note that “these medics are the eyes and ears for the medical and nursing staff in the Emergency Department. They provide life-saving care to their patients and valuable information to the hospital about the patient’s condition.” This training program has helped to lay a collaborative foundation for teamwork to grow.

The next emergency medical technician basic training course will begin Sept. 1. Baystate Mary Lane Hospital also holds monthly continuing education for EMTs, intermediates, and paramedics. For more information about EMT training or to register for classes, contact Michelle Holmgren, community outreach and public relations coordinator for the hospital, at (413) 967-2296.

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