Pal: Drowned BMC Trauma Surgeon Modernized EMS - @ JEMS.com


Pal: Drowned BMC Trauma Surgeon Modernized EMS


 
 

O'Ryan Johnson | | Monday, May 26, 2008


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.




Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Non-Line of Duty Deaths, Trauma

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

FEBRUARY 25-28, 2015

Baltimore Convention Center
Baltimore, Maryland USA
THE SHOW IS OPEN!

WEATHER REPORT


 

 

 

 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Advancement

This is the seventh year of the EMS 10 Innovators in EMS program, jointly sponsored by Physio-Control and JEMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Wesleyan Students Hospitalized for Overdose

11 students transported to local hospitals.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Denver Medic's Family Says Job Stress Contributed to Suicide

Veteran of over 25 years took her own life after a call.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Denver First Responders Join to Remember Paramedic

Veteran medic took her own life after fatal accident.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Rigs Going in Service from EMS Today 2015

Snap shots of some of the vehicles at EMS Today that will be on the streets soon
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Florida Hospital Fire

Fire halts construction project at Tampa cancer center.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >