Denver Health paramedics face new challenges amid pandemic

Coronavirus

DENVER (KDVR) — Denver Health paramedics respond to about 120,000 calls each year. The types of calls have changed because of the coronavirus, but their mission has not. 

“At the paramedic division, we are extremely lucky. We are the busiest ambulance service in the state of Colorado,” Lt. Tom Ferguson said.

They are going through is extreme measures to keep themselves and their patients safe. 

“We show up an hour early before shift, wipe down entire ambulance, wipe any place touched,” Ferguson said.

In addition to medical-grade disinfectant wipes, they have a special Aero-clave to decontaminate ambulances after transporting someone thought to have COVID-19. 

“Safety is the No. 1 concern when we step in the ambulances,” Ferguson said.

They are also kept up to date on constant changes. 

“We are given information daily to assist in our jobs. Once you have the information, it’s less of a worry,” Paramedic MacKennon Thompson said.

EMT Brock Robinson said there is nowhere else they’d rather be right now. 

“This is what I signed up for, I completely understand the risks. We may be in masks and goggles, gloves, looking like there’s something big going on, but we’re going to give you the top care, everything we got,” he said.

Ferguson used the analogy of being dropped off at sea, 2 miles from the shore: “There’s going to be people out there that can’t get back. Our job is to get as many people back to shore as possible. When we do, we have to go right back out there and help more people. It’s interesting times, we can’t necessarily see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we know it’s there and we’ll get through it and will be stronger for it.”

Denver Health paramedics say the support from the community has been amazing. They get regular donations of food and ask restaurants that are interested in donating to coordinate through the Denver Health Foundation.

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