EMS WEEK
FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+RSS Feed
Fire EMSEMS TodayEMS Insider

Pal: Drowned BMC Trauma Surgeon Modernized EMS

BOSTON -- Dr. Erwin Hirsch, the German-born chief of trauma surgery at Boston Medical Center who died in a boating accident Friday, was remembered Saturday as much for his gruff exterior as he was for the thousands of lives he saved, directly and indirectly, over his remarkable 25-year career.

``Erwin was a funny guy, a curmudgeon, a crusty kind of a guy,'' said retired Boston EMS Superintendent Jon Levine, who wheeled countless near-dead bodies into Hirsch's emergency room.

``He pushed people to be better,'' Levine said. ``A lot of people misinterpreted that, but down to the bottom of his soul, I think he had one mantra his whole life: Be good to patients, do the best for them.''

Levine said modern Boston EMS owes its existence to Hirsch, who oversaw it from its early days and was a tireless advocate for the men and women in the trucks throughout his career at City Hospital.

``He was the one who made the push that it had to be a medical orientation,'' Levine said. ``If you look at other places, you'll see towns where the fire department does it. He wanted the primary focus to be medicine. It couldn't be secondary.''

Levine said that before Hirsch had his say, when paramedics arrived at a scene they radioed the patient's condition back to an emergency room doctor, who would then instruct them on what to do.

The paramedics would then radio those instructions back to the doctor to make sure they were understood.

To Hirsch, who was a naval surgeon during the Vietnam War operating in the field on battle-scarred Marines, the time and repetition put patients' lives at risk.

``Erwin went ape-(expletive),'' Levine said. ``He'd say, `Why do they have to call it in and waste time? They know what to do. They're there and they can do it better than you do.'

``He was the biggest advocate for EMS,'' Levine said. ``We wouldn't exist if it wasn't for him.''

A person who answered the phone at Hirsch's Marblehead home yesterday declined to comment on the doctor's untimely death.

RELATED ARTICLES

Bull Riders See Little Change in Concussion Prevention

Medical staffer sees no drop in numbers despite helmet use.

University Hospital EMS Receives AHA Gold Award

Lifeline Gold Award recognizes quality improvement measures in treatment of heart attack patients.

U.S. Representative Pushes for National EMS Memorial

Legislation calls for a national EMS memorial to be built in Washington, D.C.

Five Killed in Fiery Georgia Crash

Police investigate cause of tragic crash on I-16 west of Savannah.

Discovery Finds First Step in Creating Morphine without Opium

UC Berkeley team has discovered steps to making morphine without using opium poppies.

U.S. Military Rescuers End Operations in Nepal

300 Marine, Army, Air Force and Navy personnel will begin leaving Nepal.

Features by Topic

Featured Careers

 

JEMS TV

FEATURED VIDEO TOPICS

Learn about new products and innovations featured at EMS Today 2015

 

JEMS Connect

CURRENT DISCUSSIONS

 
 

EMS BLOGS

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts