Upper Merrimack Valley MRC Debuts on WBZ

Four local medical professionals were panelists in a one-hour forum about "Emergency Medical Services" on WBZ 1030 AM radio. The live broadcast reached 38 states when it aired on April 4, from 11 p.m. to midnight. This was also the first media placement for the Upper Merrimack Valley MRC.
Ben, Jordan, Nancy, and Daniel in the studio
at WBZ.

(click on image for larger view)

Listeners as far south as Florida and as far west as Ohio learned about the ways in which local emergency care providers are helping to save lives and alleviate suffering in a crisis.

Ben Podsiadlo

Ben Podsiadlo answered questions from several of the callers. "I was eager to promote the concept of regional Advanced Life Support for quality, efficiency, and interoperability," Podsiadlo explains. "Because GLEMS is built on regional cooperation, this approach generates ALS patient care and safety, plus greater skill through experience."

The four panelists represented several key aspects of emergency medicine. Discussion flowed smoothly -- in large part because the host, Jordan Rich, is a seasoned broadcaster and long-time fixture of Boston radio, who put the participants and callers at ease.

One of the panelists was Nancy Burns, who has been a local Emergency Medical Technician since 1979. (Her role as an on-call EMT frequently requires her to bring patients to Saints, occasionally with Podsiadlo on board to provide ALS capabilities.)

Burns explained that her new assignment is to launch one of the ten Medical Response Corps units in Massachusetts through a federal grant. Her unit is called the Upper Merrimack Valley MRC, hosted by the Board of Health for the Town of Westford. This MRC is recruiting medical volunteers from seven neighboring communities: Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Lowell, Tewksbury, Tyngsboro, and Westford.

When the MRC is fully organized and operational, it will be comprised of dedicated medical volunteers within those seven communities -- practicing and retired physicians, nurses, paramedics, EMTs, pharmacists, dentists, and other trained professionals -- who want to help in two areas: public health crises that call for mass inoculations, and large-scale disasters that require additional medical response. There were two panelists speaking on behalf of Boston MedFlight -- the critical care air and ground transport service that was created in 1985 -- which operates at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, MA.

Daniel (left) and Ben (right) smiling at camera.

Daniel P. Thomas represented MedFlight as its Fixed Wing and Special Projects coordinator. Thomas discussed the Medflight "Safe Proms" initiative as one of its many community service programs. MedFlight also promotes a bike rodeo program (to encourage helmet safety), pre-hospital education, pediatric injury prevention programs, and a ride-along program for affiliated professionals.

Charlie Blathras, MedFlight program manager and a former colleague of Podsiadlo, served as a panelist by calling in from the airport. Blathras oversees daily operations of the transport program and has been in EMS over 20 years. Blathras explained that over 2000 critically ill and injured patients are transported each year by Boston MedFlight's three helicopters, fixed wing aircraft, and specially equipped critical care ambulance. In 2002, the service transported its 20,000th patient.

Daniel (left) and Ben (right) listening to a caller

Upper Merrimack Valley Medical Reserve Corp, 55 Main Street, Westford, MA 01886