Three 5C students who recently earned their Emergency Medical Technician certifications wanted to gain practical experience, but didn’t have time in their busy schedules to work at a nearby hospital.
So, they came up with an idea to fill a gap in students’ health needs on campus.
Emma Finn CM ’21, Ryan Ferdowsian PZ ’20 and Chloe Ortiz PZ ’21 lead the Pitzer College-based EMT Certification Club, which is in its third year of helping students achieve certification.
They hope to transform the club in the near future into the Claremont Colleges Emergency Medical Services, which could present another option for 5C student in need of medical assistance. (Disclaimer: Ortiz is a TSL photo editor.)
The club’s vision is a service that employs EMT-certified students, who would drive a small golf cart equipped with medical supplies. The students would be on-call to assist students in need of medical attention, especially during what Ferdowsian described as “peak hours” — Thursday through Saturday nights.
Last semester, Pomona College had eight alcohol-related transports, Claremont McKenna College had six, Scripps College had five, and Pitzer College had four, according to each college’s dean of students. Harvey Mudd College did not respond to a request for data.
The project is in its early stages, and the club is still working out logistics.
When asked bout the proposal, both Dianna Graves, CMC’s dean of students, and Sandra Vasquez, Pitzer’s dean of students, raised concerns about a student-run EMS being an insufficient replacement for students who need hospital care.
“A student-led EMT service is an interesting idea and one we have explored with our risk management team,” Graves wrote in a statement to TSL. “However, in cases of alcohol poisoning, EMTs are not a replacement for the medical care provided at a hospital.”
Ferdowsian does not see the student service and hospitalization as mutually exclusive. Rather, he views it as a middle ground between receiving no medical help and going to a hospital.
“We’ll be able to arrive on scene and determine whether the student patient actually needs to be transported,” Ferdowsian said.
Nick Imparato PO ’20 supports a student-led EMS program.
During his first year at Pomona, he got drunk enough one night that his friends called Campus Safety as a precaution.
“In orientation, they tell you over and over again, ‘If your friend is drunk, call [Campus Safety],’” Imparato said.
But when Campus Safety arrived, they learned that Imparato was 17, and said that if he was not hospitalized, he would face legal consequences, Imparato said. Imparato was taken to the hospital in an ambulance, only to be immediately discharged. The ordeal left him with a $1,600 bill, he said.
The experience deterred him from ever wanting to call Campus Safety again, Imparato said. Stan Skipworth, the director of Campus Safety, declined to comment on the specific incident, citing privacy statutes.
“Students are less likely to report an incident — like if their friend is too drunk — if they think it’s a guaranteed ambulance ride,” Ortiz said. “If that becomes a pattern, eventually something’s going to go wrong and we’re going to have a really bad situation where someone doesn’t call.”