It’s early Monday morning and you’re on your way to work. It’s a morning just like any other on I-70 with bumper to bumper commuters heading for Denver. Somehow, you’re running later than usual. Ahh, but it’s oh so easy to press down on the accelerator to give Betsy that little extra push. Suddenly, in front of you a deer pops out of nowhere. Your first instinct is to slam on the brakes or swerve out of the way to spare the poor deer. Maybe you do a little of both with the catastrophic result of rolling your vehicle, and sending your life crashing down the next ravine. The deer bounds off leaving a heap of mangled metal, shattered glass, and your body catapulted against an immovable rock. It’s not what you expected, but you won’t be able to verbalize that for a while. Who will take time out of their busy schedule to come to your aid? What will they do? Will they know who to call? Will help get there in time to stop the bleeding or prevent your frail life from reducing itself to the state of a vegetable? Where will you be taken? Which hospital is best equipped to deal with your injuries? These are only a few of the questions that you as a concerned citizen should ask yourself about the emergency medical services (EMS) that exist in your community.
More than likely, a trucker will spot your dilemma, and quickly radio the State Patrol. The State Patrol, in turn, will dispatch a call the closest ambulance service. At the same time, a helicopter is put on standby. This kind of response network is what is referred to as an Emergency Medical Service System.
In the “old days,” anyone who was unfortunate enough to have catastrophic accident or coronary, braced themselves for what was most likely inevitable — death. An ambulance was dispatched to remove the dying victim, and take him/her to a “funeral parlor.” No one really expected survival much less a productive life. Another “unlucky” statistic would be recorded, and quickly forgotten because no one knew how to deal with the inadequacies of medical intervention. Things were much simpler in the early days; medicine didn’t cost much. It didn’t do much either — at least not for the critically ill or injured.