A convoy of more than 50 ambulances and two medical helicopters made their way from UMass Medical Center in Worcester to the warning track of Fenway Park Wednesday, where leaders in government, healthcare and sports honored the more than 20,000 emergency medical services professionals in Massachusetts via video tribute.
The Convoy of Champions in Celebration of EMS Week was especially significant this year because of the unprecedented response to the COVID-19 crisis from EMS professionals and their colleagues across the state’s medical community. Massachusetts has been among the nation’s hardest hit states by the novel coronavirus.
During the current public health crisis, EMS professionals have been a critical resource for local healthcare providers, collaborating on assessment, testing, and treatment for homebound patients. This ability to provide supplemental support for hospitals and neighborhood health centers, in addition to their duties related to emergency services, has truly been above and beyond.
The celebration in Fenway included a short speaking program and video tributes from Governor Charlie Baker and Mayor Marty Walsh, as well as medical leaders, elected officials and sports celebrities, each praising the contributions of the state’s paramedics, EMTs and 911 communications professionals.
“EMS professionals are some of the most important players in our healthcare and public safety community. They are, in many respects, the front line and the first voice around emergencies and emergent trends and concerns,” Governor Baker said in a video tribute. “You make our communities safer and stronger and our people better. You are the heroes among us and I’m glad we’ve had this chance to celebrate you during National EMS Week.”
“Everyone who works for our EMS agencies are heroes. You are always there for us, put yourselves in harm’s way and you do incredible work under tremendous pressure,” Mayor Walsh told the EMS community. “As mayor of the great city of Boston, I know the incredible volumes of calls our EMS professionals respond to and you go above and beyond the call, always treating patients with kindness, respect and professionalism. You are role models in our communities and give our entire city a sense of reassurance. You are hardworking men and women always on the front lines. But right now your impact is even greater. You make us very proud and we certainly salute you.”
“It is immensely rewarding to be involved in such a fantastic celebration of our EMS professionals,” said Dennis Cataldo, president of Cataldo Ambulance and the Massachusetts Ambulance Association. “Today, more than ever, we truly realize the importance that our Emergency Medical Technicians, Paramedics and trained communications staff have in the delivery of pre-hospital care at all levels. All too often, these trained professionals are not recognized for the role they play in the healthcare system. They deserve all of this recognition and more.”
“We rely on you throughout the year, 24 hours a day, to bring us patients and the staff in our emergency department appreciate the professionalism, dedication and the skill you bring in the care of patients,” said Peter Slavin, MD, president of Massachusetts General Hospital. “You truly are the first responders in our healthcare system. To the paramedics, to the EMTs, to the dispatchers, the nurses, to the doctors, the pilots, the drivers, to everyone who makes up our regional EMS system, thank you so much for your incredible work. You truly are the heroes of this era.”
“Across our system EMS Week has always held special meaning, serving as an important reminder of the vital role paramedics, EMTS and 911 dispatchers play in the healthcare continuum,” said Kevin Tabb, MD, president and CEO of Beth Israel Lahey Health. “It goes without saying that our appreciation for the work you do is stronger than ever. Throughout the pandemic front line caregivers have been widely recognized for their courageous efforts. What’s often overlooked is that you are at the front of the line for front line care delivery. On behalf of everyone at Beth Israel Lahey Health, thank you for your heroism every day on every call you respond to.”
EMS professionals are employed by private ambulance companies, municipalities and state agencies. The event was hosted by the Boston Red Sox and organized by the Mass Ambulance Association, Municipal Ambulance Providers and Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts.