By Claire Wang
The Stanford Emergency Medical Service, better known as StEMS, will be at tonight’s Full Moon on the Quad (FMOTQ) to provide safety and medical care to participating students. The group, made up of student EMTs, provides standby medical service to members of the Stanford community during campus events such as football games, equestrian events, concerts and campus-wide parties.
According to StEMS president and BLS (Basic Life Support) coordinator Mike Dacre, the group consists of three levels of EMTs, all of which are ready to act in moments of need. The organization functions under the Department of Public Safety at Stanford and is trained in everything from basic wound care to the management of more serious conditions such as heart attacks and strokes.
“All of us in StEMS are certified EMTs at the basic life support level, so we are trained … in a wide range of medical and trauma-type scenarios — anything from cardiovascular issues that would require CPR or use of the AED [automated external defibrillator], musculoskeletal injuries [and] oxygen delivery,” said Joyce Kang ’18, a full member of StEMS and director of group logistics. “StEMS members also [perform] a lot of physical examinations, which includes taking vitals and patient histories.”
Probationary members, the newest to the group, must have have completed their EMT certifications. After volunteering for over 50 hours and showing readiness and commitment, probationary members may be promoted to full members. The most senior members, crew chiefs, lead the teams that work events at Stanford.
Organizations hosting events may request the services of StEMS through their website or by visiting the resources page of Orgsync. Once they receive a request, StEMS members plan for the event by determining how many teams to send into the field.
Teams travel with two ambulances, each complete with gurneys to transport patients to the Palo Alto Fire Department, a trauma bag for taking care of physical injuries and a medical airway bag containing oxygen and an AED.
StEMS was founded in 2007 by a group of ten TAs and graduates from the recently formed EMT training program in collaboration with Vaden Health Center and the Department of Public Safety. Since its foundation, the group has grown to include over 35 members, and has logged over 3,000 hours of service.
“It’s a chance to give back to the community and to improve your skills in handling difficult situations,” said probationary member Sean Mullane ’18. “It really improves your confidence to know that if something happens, you’ll be able to manage the situation.”
For minor injuries such as a sprained ankle, the EMTs on site will treat the injury immediately, but for something more serious, such as unconsciousness, they may call the fire department to take the patient to the hospital. The EMTs then work to stabilize the patient before paramedics arrive to provide more advanced life support.
According to several members of the group, being part of StEMS may also help students determine whether or not a career in medicine is right for them.
“After [becoming] an EMT, [I realized] that I love providing patient care, being in charge in emergency situations and working on a team,” said crew chief Maria Filsinger Interrante ’16. “It actually made me decide to pursue an MD.”
Many students come to StEMS having obtained their training from the EMT training course, EMED 111/112: “Emergency Medical Technician Training,” taught through the Stanford Medical School. Through StEMS, students are able to apply the training they have learned in class to real-life scenarios.
Dacre emphasized that undergraduates are often limited in their ability to find opportunities to provide direct medical care to patients.
“StEMS provides a unique opportunity for our volunteers, particularly undergraduates, to be able to give back to the Stanford community in a medical capacity,” he said.
Contact Claire Wang at clwang32 ‘at’ stanford.edu.