EMS agencies have new protocol for treating critical patients


CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – A new protocol for all EMS state agencies will require EMS professionals to stay on the scene longer and treat critical patients instead of going straight to the hospital.

“Unfortunately, in the emergency medical services, a lot of how people perceive us is based on how quick we are. Are we moving to the hospital fast enough? Are we just very super fast taxi cabs? And that’s not where the industry has evolved. We’re bringing the emergency room to you,” said Nathan Harig, assistant chief of Cumberland Goodwill EMS. 

Research in Pittsburgh found it is in the best interest of critical patients for paramedics to stay on scene for an additional 20 minutes.

“In the old way of doing things, by moving them, we would actually see more patients go into cardiac arrest in the back of our ambulance. And these are the sickest of the sick, so we just have to recognize, as providers, we can do this. We can take care of the patient and implement all the stuff we learned and all the tools we brought to the patient,” Harig said.

Providers expect this new state protocol will take some time for family members to understand.

“You have to let us do our jobs. You have to let us bring that professionalism and that knowledge to your patient in your home,” Harig said.

EMS professionals are equipped with the tools to treat on the scene.

“This is just some of the gear that we have always carried that we are able to apply towards this new protocol,” Harig said.

Professionals hope the use of their extensive equipment on the scene will get the patient from critical to stable by the time they come through the emergency room doors. 

“We can bring it to you. We have the training, we have the tools, and we have the skills so let’s do it,” Harig said.

The new protocol will go into effect at the beginning of September.  

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