During National EMS Week, which runs from May 18 to 23, Geisinger typically honors EMS workers with peer-nominated awards, cookouts and a night at PNC Field to see the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders or FNB Field to see the Harrisburg Senators, but the spread of COVID-19 has postposed such gatherings. In lieu of those celebrations, Geisinger decided to honor EMS crews by cleaning their vehicles and offering a few small giveaways.
As the first line of care in emergency situations, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics and pre-hospital providers selflessly serve their communities, often putting themselves at risk for the well-being of their patients. The unpredictable element of answering emergency calls poses dangers, and those risks have increased during the pandemic.
David Schoenwetter, D.O., director of the Division of EMS at Geisinger, said honoring EMS professionals is even more important during COVID-19 when the normal opportunity to celebrate them has been delayed.
“The pandemic has impacted all aspects of healthcare,” Schoenwetter said. “The hospitals are considered the front line in the fight against COVID-19, but EMS is in front of that. They are the true expeditionary force, and their job has been made far more complicated. There’s no way to know if a patient is infected, and that increases their exposure risk. They are always deserving of this honor, but it’s especially important to recognize them now.”
The ambulance washes occurred on May 19 at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre; May 20 at Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton; and May 21 at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 10 hospital campuses, a health plan with more than half a million members, a research institute and the Geisinger College of Health Sciences, which includes schools of medicine, nursing and graduate education. With more than 25,000 employees and 1,700+ employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at geisinger.org or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.