Make-A-Wish Program Turns a Patient into a Paramedic

Issue 3 and Volume 40.

Big Wish Comes True

If a child is given one wish, most may expect their wish to be for something grandiose or naive.

Ten-year-old BilliJo Bowman of Union, Mo., who suffers from end stage renal disease resulting from Henoch-Schönlein Purpura (HSP), requested to become a paramedic for a day with the help of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The young girl’s big adventure covered the entire city of Union. She attended a paramedic training class, rode in an ambulance to “treat” patients throughout the community, and treated her younger brother for a simulated “burn injury.” She even accompanied him to the hospital in a helicopter—her favorite part of the day.

BilliJo has been through chemotherapy for the last year and a half and is currently on hemodialysis for 12 hours a week, while attending school three days out of the week. She also has monthly tests for a complete blood count and a daily medication regimen. If her HSP goes into remission, she’ll then be a candidate for a kidney transplant.

The outpouring of support from the community fulfilled BilliJo’s desire to be the person helping patients instead of being the patient. Local fire and EMS agencies helped by volunteering their time and equipment to the experience. East Central College also set up a scholarship in BilliJo’s name that she and others can utilize to help pay for paramedic school.

We give a big thumbs up to all EMS agencies involved with making BilliJo’s wish come true, East Central College and, of course, BilliJo. These local agencies made an amazing contribution to help a little girl fulfill her wish of helping others.

Early CPR Training

On Dec. 13, 2014, San Diego Project Heart Beat hosted CPR training for kids at SeaWorld in San Diego. The event provided youth aged 8–13 with
compression-only CPR tips and training from local EMTs. Throughout the day, children worked on manikins to perfect their skills and were able to stay after the event and enjoy the park’s holiday festivities.

San Diego Project Heart Beat is the city of San Diego’s nationally recognized public access defibrillation/CPR program, managed by the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department and operated alongside Rural/Metro Ambulance. The goal of the program is to increase survivability of sudden cardiac arrest victims throughout the city by making AEDs readily available in public and private areas.

Seventy percent of Americans feel they’re unprepared to help during an emergency situation because they don’t know or don’t feel comfortable performing CPR.

An event such as this can be critical in introducing basic CPR skills and helping individuals become comfortable with applying those skills if the need arises.

Thumbs up to the local heroes who volunteered their time and San Diego Project Heart Beat for putting together an event aimed at developing lifesaving skills. In conjunction with the AEDs Project Heart Beat places around the city, these kids are now better prepared to administer CPR in the future.

Sweet-Sounding Care

Three EMS providers have added “serenading” to their list of patient care protocols.

Santa Clara County (Calif.) Ambulance EMT Steven Knight, paramedic Aaron Cruz, and WestMed College EMT/paramedic intern Daniel Jones transported a pediatric patient to El Camino Hospital one evening after a medical emergency. While waiting for an available bed and for her parents to arrive, the patient became frightened, according to the hospital’s clinical manager.

Shortly after, she said she could her singing from behind a curtain. When she opened it, she found the three men gathered around the gurney and singing to her.

It’s always great to see EMS providers give a new definition to exceptional patient care. We give a thumbs up to Knight, Cruz and Jones for delivering the best care possible and applaud their heartfelt performance.