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Opinion: Post 53 responds to critic

By Ron Hammer

 

Two weeks ago, Walter Casey posed a number of questions to the Director of Post 53 and to the other Posties.

Since Mr. Casey is so fond of using the Darien Times as his personal forum, I offered to have the Times host a meeting between the two of us to provide an opportunity for a two-way dialogue. A chance to answer those and any other questions he may have had, and do it on the record. However, Mr. Casey declined my offer.

About two years ago we wrote to the paper and explained that Darien EMS – Post 53 would never respond to misinformed criticism of the organization, and we still will not.

Since then, dozens of missives have been lobbed by Mr. Casey, and published by the Darien Times. Our offer to answer any questions from Walter Casey or any other individual is still on the table.

In the interim, I thought it would help to go on record, one more time, with a few facts. Over 40 years, Post 53 has constantly evolved. We embrace and welcome development and change in the field of EMS. We care deeply about patient care and put a greater emphasis on training than any of our peers. We support basing paramedics wherever the Town wants to put them. That decision rests with the Town. Today, they come from medic stations located extremely close to Darien. Our response times (about 6 minutes) are amongst the best in the state. The paramedic response times to our town are within national standards. Every call goes to a dispatcher who determines the level of response required based on nationally accepted protocols. If paramedic care is deemed necessary, medics are immediately requested. If a medic is delayed, the patient is transported immediately and an intercept takes place en route to the hospital. Patient care begins with the arrival of our first responders and our Post 53 crews. All patients, regardless of the severity of their condition, first require basic assessment and management of any life threatening conditions. This is commonly referred to as BLS (basic life support) before ALS (advanced life support). We are always happy to provide more detail for those who are interested.

A number of years ago, the town formed an EMS commission. This was done to analyze and make recommendations to the Town regarding emergency medical services. Although Post 53 has very strong internal controls, as well as oversight from Stamford Hospital and an MD responsible for medical control, the town determined that an independent review would be useful. Since then, we have made ourselves available to the commission for any and all questions. The decision to move to trained professional dispatchers was directly related to work we did with the commission. That same commission has stated that EMS services within Darien continue to meet the community’s needs in a manner that is consistent with nationally accepted standards, and they have not recommended the hiring of a full-time paramedic. I am not aware of any open issues with the commission, and we continue to have regular dialogue. We welcome any and all suggestions from them on how to improve patient care.

Sadly, it seems to me that those who are most affected by Mr. Casey’s regular writings are the 150 or so members of Post 53. These are people who are dedicated to the service of others. Many of our members volunteer more than 100 hours per month to help our community. Lastly, I want to address the insulting suggestion that any young adult member of Post 53, or their parents, think that this is an activity that will increase their chances of getting into a college. Colleges do not recruit EMTs.

In fact, as we tell all entering candidates, it is more likely that the incredible commitment required of Post membership over four years at Darien High School will necessitate sacrifice and take a toll on academic performance. We also tell all new members that the skills they develop while in our organization will serve them well and that we hope they leave with a responsibility to serve for the rest of their lives.

The Darien Times has offered to moderate any conversations Mr. Casey would like to have with Post 53. Our offer to respond and educate still stands.

 

Ron Hammer is director of Post 53.

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  • kristenmm16

    I just wanted to say that I greatly appreciate the time Mr. Hammer took to so eloquently and politely respond to the continued criticism of Mr. Casey. I am a former Post 53 EMT and VP of Training and currently reside out of state and keep up with the on goings of Post 53 and Darien, seeing as how I have family that live in Darien. I have been deeply offended by the continued tirades that some choose to take out of Post 53. Having been a Postie myself I know that immense dedication and time that it takes to be one and can imagine how many Posties feel when they continuously hear negative comments about them all the time. I can say that no matter the time, there will always be naysayers but Post 53 is a truly amazing organization and is beyond outstanding. During my time with Post 53, we were always pushing forward and expanding what we could do for the community to provide them the best emergency care and medics were a routine part of that. Clearly Post 53 has continued with that and is moving forward each day and continues to work with the town on improving care for its residents. It deeply upsets me to know that someone can constantly belittle the amazing work the members of Post 53 do each day and the fact that they volunteer more time than most could imagine, providing free-of-charge EMS care to the residents of Darien, while their high school counterparts are off living the so-called normal high school life. Posties are a truly special group of people and I will never ever forget what I learned while I was one and the friendships and bonds that were forged during my time with Post. I moved forward with my medical career to become an emergency room RN and I know that a great deal of people who spent time in Post moved on to medical careers, thereby continuing to provide care to those who need it.

    I appreciate again what Mr. Hammer has said and his continued dedication to the town of Darien and the members of Post 53. I thank all the Posties who each year continue the organization and dedicate their time to helping others.

    Kristen T.

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