EMS World

SEP 2018

EMS World Magazine is the most authoritative source in the world for clinical and educational material designed to improve the delivery of prehospital emergency medical care.

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Page 35 of 51

EMSWORLD.com | SEPTEMBER 2018 35 ment, or even doing long-term damage. Hemophilic ar thropathy—joint damage caused by repeated bleeds—is common in people with hemophilia. Brady deals with such arthritis in his ankles, and Cody in his elbow. Both have undergone several surgeries to ease the pain. In recent years Cody ha s prioritized getting to the gym for regular workouts in an attempt to boost his self-care. "When I wa s growing up, there wa s a huge m ovem ent in the hem ophilia world to keep the s e kids in bubble s: 'They shouldn't be out at the gym. They shouldn't be out playing spor ts. These kids are fragile,'" Cody says. "But now we're seeing studies coming out about people with hemophilia showing lower rates of injur y if you are active and train- ing your body to interact with its environ- ment. Also, being active strengthens your muscles in your joints and lowers your risk of injur y." The Call of EMS The brothers credit their firsthand expo- sure to the medical world with spurring them on to careers in healthcare. In fact, Cody was finishing up the prerequisites to get into nursing school when his younger brother announced plans to pursue EMT certification. "My first thought wa s, Whoa, that's a lot of work, dude. That's a lot of run- ning around. We have hemophilia," Cody remembers. "I was concerned about his ankles, and I was absolutely concerned about future injuries." Yet it was the ver y unpredictability of EMS that called to Brady. "I think wild is the best word for it. You don't have the comforting feeling of being in a hospital, where you have hundreds of nurses and dozens of doc tors and suppor t staf f behind you to assist with things," Brady says. "When you have a 9-1-1 call and things turn bad and the situ- ation gets chaotic, it's a lot more chal- lenging when it's just you and your part- ner and maybe a law-enforcement officer or a couple of firefighters. That's kind of what draws me: It's the challenge." So Brady began studying for his EMT cert, with Cody helping as needed. Then, when Cody had a semester free before beginning nursing school, he decided to kill time by enrolling in the EMT program himself. He ended up loving the field too. And after both brothers earned their EMT cer tifications , Co d y conv inced B rad y to volunteer with him at Dodge Center Ambulance. Shor tly af ter ward, paramedic Jared Oscarson came on board as ambulance director. " W h e n I a r r i ve d at D o d ge Ce n te r Ambulance, Brady and Cody were new volunteer EMTs with the ser vice. They had recently graduated from EMT class and were ready to help," says Oscarson. "Their compassion, empathy, and desire to learn wa s evident in all their work. These two jumped right into the opera- tion, learning and growing." Oscarson admits to being caught off guard when he learned they had hemo- philia. He had never knowingly encoun- tered anyone with the condition, so he sought more information. "They talked openly and taught other staff members and me about hemophil- ia and what to do for them if they ever required care," Oscar son s ays . "They manage their hemophilia with medica- tions and care just like any other chronic disea se and have a normal life. They are no different than anyone else in the department." Last year Brady took a full-time EMT position with the ambulance ser vice, while Cody continued to volunteer and enrolle d in p aram e dic s ch o ol at th e Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences. He graduated and earned his paramedic credential in May. No Looking Back While Cody has accepted a full-time posi- tion as a paramedic an hour or so east in La Crosse, Wisc., he has every intention to con- tinue as a volunteer EMT with his brother back in Dodge Center. "As a volunteer EMT, my requirements aren't too strenuous, so I'll be able to go out there from time to time throughout the month and make it work," Cody says. "Being able to be part of a volunteer EMS agency that gives back to a community that can't necessarily afford the luxur y of a full-time ser vice is huge to me." Their two years of experience in EMS ha s taught the men one thing: Their career choice has not been a mistake. Neither Brady nor Cody has ever been seriously injured or felt limited on the job. Through life experience both have learned to quickly think things through before jumping in and to a sk for help when needed to avoid injur y. "As kids, the doctors prevented us from doing a lot of stuf f. I hated that, and I always had a little chip on my shoulder when I couldn't do something because of my hemophilia," says Brady. "I tr y not to let that af fect me, especially when I want to be hardheaded and go beyond my bounds. At the end of the day I realize, if I get hurt, I can't help anybody." Oscarson predicts bright futures for them both. "I believe Brady and Cody have long c are er s ah ead of th em in EMS," th e ambulance director says, "and will con- tinue to develop as leaders." ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jolynn Tumolo is a freelance writer in Morgantown, Pa., and a frequent contributor to EMS World. FACTS ABOUT HEMOPHILIA • Hemophilia is caused by a missing or deficient protein required for blood clotting. • About 20,000 people in the United States have hemophilia. • Hemophilia A (fac tor VIII deficienc y) is the most common form of hemophilia. It is nearly four times as common as hemophilia B (factor IX deficiency), the other major type. • No cure exists for hemophilia, but drugs mad e f ro m human p la sma an d thro ugh recombinant biotechnolog y are ef fective treatments. —Source: National Hemophilia Foundation MORE ONLINE! Being Deaf in EMS: The inspiring story of Allina Health paramedic Adam Harvey. www.emsworld.com/article/218355

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