There are times when a person needs immediate medical attention or medical treatment due to major accidents or massive injuries. For example, when a person has a car accident and has lost a lot of blood, he or she has to undergo immediate blood transfusion in order to survive. When a person suddenly suffers a heart attack or a stroke, he or she must be immediately administered with drugs and must be revived in order to keep him or her alive.
While all of these medical situations can easily be resolved by brining the victim or the patient to the hospital, there are instances wherein the hospital or any medical facility is too far away for a patient to reach it on time. In addition, as mentioned above, there are also times when a person must be treated immediately due to the gravity of the accident or else he or she will die. Fortunately, in these cases wherein medical facilities or services cannot be easily accessed, people can resort to a very reliable option called Emergency Medical Services.
Basically, Emergency Medial Services (EMS) is a type of service that provides emergency care outside the hospital to patients who are suffering from injuries, diseases, or illnesses that fall under the category of a medical emergency and eventually transport them to a hospital (United States National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, 2008). This type of medical service features highly skilled medical personnel such as registered nurses, paramedics, doctors, and medical technicians, who are all trained to respond to almost any time of medical emergency.
In addition, EMS usually has special equipment and facilities that are designed for emergency situations (United States National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, 2008). In this regard, this paper will discuss EMS and also provide a detailed background on its history, types of services, and other pertinent topics. The paper will also briefly discuss the other organizations that provide emergency medical services. History
Although the United States did not have adequate emergency services until the late 1960s, there are accounts in history in which people provide services that are similar to the ones provided by EMS. In the early times, people transported their sick and wounded using a hammock tied between two sturdy poles similar like to today’s ambulance (American College of Emergency Physicians, 2008) which is the most basic type of service provided by the EMS.
However, the first historical record of an ambulance being used in emergencies was in the 15th century in Spain, during the time of Queen Isabella and Ferdinand. The took decided that it was important closely monitor the welfare of their troops in their campaign against the Moors so they ordered that all medical and surgical supplies be contained in special tents that were then called ambulancias (American College of Emergency Physicians, 2008).
In the United States, the creation of a law that authorized emergency medical services was instigated by the publication of a paper titled Accidental Death and Disability: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society in 1966 (Loomis, 2007). The document claimed that there is a lack of emergency services available to civilians in the United States and that there were major developments and advancements in pre-hospital care and emergency care that were seen in the Vietnam War and the Korean War that have not been implemented in the country.
It also recommended that the government should provide extensive basic and advanced training for emergency situations to civilians so that accidents and casualties can easily solved (Loomis, 2007). In short, the publication of the document pressured to government to take action. In the same year, the US Congress passed the National Highway Safety Act which established the Department of Transportation, the institution that would provide grants to states mainly for emergency medical services (Loomis, 2007).
It was also during this year that the Emergency Medical Technician-Ambulance Program was established. In the 1973, Congress passed the Emergency Medical Service System Act, which led to the further development of EMS systems and addressed 15 components: training, communications, manpower, emergency facilities, transportation, public safety agencies, consumers, critical care units, access to care, keeping of medical records, transfer of patients, evaluation and review, mutual aid, public information and education, and disaster plans (Loomis, 2007).
However, in 1981, Congress passed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act which removed the federal funding for the United States’ EMS. But in 1988, the Stateswide EMS Technical Assessment Program was finally established. The program laid the foundation for all the necessary elements to each and every EMS system in the US. These elements include management of resources, training, human resources, communication, transportation, facilities, public information and education, medical direction, evaluation, trauma systems (Loomis, 2007).
At present, the system of the EMS is composed of a network of agencies, organizations, and service providers that coordinate with each other to provide emergency medical services as one whole. An administrative body at the regional levels handles the local EMS system while the EMS systems at the State level are the ones responsible for pushing for the legislation that would enhance and better the system, assigning the budget to the local EMS systems, certification, licensing, enforcing rules and regulations, and appointing heads of the regional councils (Loomis, 2007).