Friday, July 6, 2012

Real Life Superhero: Alex, the EMT

Alex was minding his own business, getting ready for another day on the job as a superhero when we interrupted him. He works as an EMT (emergency medical technician) at UIC hospital, and he was getting ready for a really long day of work (if you couldn't tell from the giant coffee he was drinking).  

I never thought about it this way, but even superheros have to get pumped up before they get to work. Superman probably flies around Metropolis and watches the sun rise, Batman might have checked out the city from the Batcave, and Alex sips his coffee, smiles while he's riding the "El," and listens to his superhero caliber playlist on his iPod. It was at this precise moment, that we bumped into him....
Like all superheros, Alex had some great stories to share. Among the gems Alex shared with us was one that took place while he was working for a private ambulance company... Alex and his partner received a call that a pregnant woman was having contractions. When they arrived at the house, they found the woman sprawled out on the floor of her living room. Her husband told them that the contractions were coming 3-5 minutes apart. Alex checked out the mother-to-be, and told his partner that there was no time to take her to the hospital. They have to do it "here and now." At this moment, Alex was doing his absolute best to stay calm, but that baby didn't seem to get the memo telling him to wait!
As he was sitting beside the woman, Alex was furiously trying to recall every detail of his training on delivering babies. He couldn't remember all of the exact details, but he remembered the big things. He and his partner grabbed the gear they needed and eventually delivered a baby boy named Benjamin. Alex and his partner then took the new family to the hospital to get checked up. Alex waited to make sure the baby and the family were okay... When the doctors came out of the room, they said that everything was done fine. The delivery went well. The nurses then let Alex wash baby Benjamin. As he washed him, Alex saw Benjamin open his eyes for the first time. Soon after, the nurses took the baby from Alex and sent him back to helping people in need. 
It's these kind of moments that inspire Alex. He loves his job because he loves helping people. He doesn't mind working long hours, dealing with difficult situations, or even sometimes putting himself in harms way - as long as it means he can help people. His biggest dream is to work in a fire department, so he can help people on a bigger scale and be a first responder to an emergency call. 
Interestingly, we found out that Alex mentioned he had been to almost every hospital in and around Chicago. We asked him what the biggest differences were between the different hospital systems. Alex said he really appreciated public hospitals. Even though they are usually crowded and sometimes slow, they are more prepared to deal with an influx of people and situations. 
As we neared our stop, we had the chance to ask Alex if there was any advice he could give about hospitals (since he has an insiders perspective on the entire operation). He said that people should try to be patient and realize that hospitals have systems in order to treat every patient effectively. Every individual's ailment is addressed according to the patient's vital signs and the hospital's capacity. He also advises everyone to stay hydrated and inside, out of the heat. You'd be surprised how often it can keep you out of the hospital. 
Thanks so much for the sound advice, Alex. And thanks for taking the time to talk to us. We really loved having the chance to talk to a real-life superhero.

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