This month, in response to February’s From the Editor column, “The Man Behind the Journal: An inside look at who Jim Page really was,” a reader tells us about the impact Page has had on his own life.
I love your editorial about Jim Page, JD. He was a friend at a crucial time in my life. I’ll never forget him.
In 1976, I graduated from the anesthesiology physician assistant program at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta and went to Columbus, Ga., to practice critical care medicine and anesthesiology at The Medical Center, a tertiary hospital. I’d been working on an ambulance since I was 16 years old, worked my way through college and graduate school as an EMT–attending the first EMT program in Connecticut and being certified in 1972–and was a devout believer in the value of prehospital ALS.
Much to nobody’s liking, I pushed myself into the Columbus Georgia Rescue Squad and quickly found myself as the medical advisor to the entire Department of Public Safety in Columbus. I needed help. A friend of mine knew of Jim and the ACT Foundation and suggested I call him. I did and to this day, I can never speak too highly about Jim.
From the beginning of our many conversations he was kind, patient, encouraging and passed along wisdom I’ll never forget. He helped me develop that fledgling system into a complete EMS system for a base population of 175,000 citizens. He then guided me through the formation of a regional EMS council, grant application and subsequent awarding of two Department of Health, Education and Welfare (DHEW) grants (DHEW 1202 and 1203) for Georgia’s 7th EMS District.
In 1979, I left Columbus to try to make a career in EMS administration. I accepted a position with the Ohio Board of Regents, where I established and supervised paramedic education and certification in the state of Ohio. Jim Page was always there for me. Anytime I needed advice or counsel–which was often–he was always the man to go to.
I left Ohio in 1981 and accepted a position as the first EMS director with the county of Fresno (Calif.) Department of Public Health. Now, being on Jim’s home turf, we spoke and met more often. Despite Jim’s best efforts, I was able to alienate everyone in EMS in Fresno. I was entirely too pushy to be an EMS administrator and not nearly politically savvy enough. Jim tried to help me as much as he could, but things being as they were, I left with everyone glad to see me go and much more willing to work together without that outsider around–namely me. I returned to Atlanta and the practice of anesthesiology. Over the years, I’ve continued to volunteer in public safety arenas.
I knew from the outset that JEMS would be the best EMS publication there would ever be for those of us who truly believe in EMS. For those of us that remember the old days, we knew we could make a difference. I knew Jim had found his forum in JEMS. Jim had no ego when it came to winning a discussion or argument. He just wanted what was best for the patient. JEMS was the way to spread that message.
Thank you for writing about him. I miss him often. He was the “Father of EMS” in this nation. He deserves that recognition.
There are thousands of EMTs and paramedics who take EMS for granted. They’ve never even seen a station wagon ambulance operated by a single police officer with little or no training. They’ve never seen a funeral home ambulance service. They’ve grown up with ALS and three-minute response times from fire departments. I remember when a local fire department chief told me, “We have no business in EMS. We fight fires, period!” We now expect EMS as the third public safety service.
If there’s anything I can ever do to assist you please let me know. We need to start a movement to get Jim officially–if possible– designated or recognized as the “Father of EMS” in this nation.
Please never stop saying “WWJD.” Thank you.
Joseph E. DiCorpo, BSc, MMSc, PA
The photo of Kevin Collopy in the March 2015 supplement, “EMS10: Innovators in EMS 2014,” states Collopy’s service became, “the first EMS service to perform point-of-care serum lactate testing.” They’re actually the first service accredited to perform point-of-care serum lactate testing. We in no way meant to take away from the outstanding work being performed by other systems.
The article “Competing Ambulance Safety Standards Await State Adoption,” published in the February issue, contained incorrect information on the development of the GVS-2015 Standard. The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) was incorrectly described as having participated in the standard’s development. The IAFC has neither assisted in developing the standard nor endorsed its contents.