EMS icon Randolph Mantooth delivered the opening keynote speech to a packed house on Thursday afternoon. The star of the hit '70s tv show Emergency! delivered a heartfelt and inspiring presentation honoring the paramedics and EMTs in the room. He began discussing how technology has changed since he stopped lugging heavy props on the set.
He then tackled something that hasn’t changed much -- paramedic burnout. He said all the attendees in the audience who say they got into EMS because of Johnny and Roy on Emergency! didn't actually get the bug from the show. He said, instead, that it’s because they wanted to take care of people, that compassion and caring are a part of their DNA.
Finally, he told a heartfelt story of the day his sister was T-boned in her car. Her injuries were severe enough to require a medical helicopter. She died on the medical helicopter. And then the flight paramedic and flight nurse brought her back to life. Choking up at the memory, he told the audience that the flight paramedic and flight nurse who worked on his sister in that helicopter saved her life. He said she was able to dance at her son’s wedding five years ago. “What you do has a direct impact on other people’s lives,” Mantooth said.
He challenged attendees to recall, on those days where they just can’t imagine taking care of one more patient, the reason or reasons they got into EMS, reminding them that taking care of people is part of an EMS provider’s DNA. “To truly care for people, you have to truly care for people.”