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As of 2008, around 210,000 people worked as paramedics in the United States. Paramedics are often first on the scene in emergency situations and play an important role in ensuring patients get the best medical care.
When paramedics arrive at the scene of an emergency their role is to assess. They assess the nature of the patient’s injuries and if possible try to find out about any preexisting medical conditions the patient has.
Typically paramedics will immobilize the patient on a backboard and transport him to the ambulance.
During the journey to the hospital, one paramedic stays with the patient, monitoring vital signs and taking any action required. The other paramedic drives the ambulance. In some situations patients are transported in a helicopter, but a paramedic will always be in attendance.
On arriving at the hospital, paramedics will accompany the patient inside and report any relevant information about preexisting conditions and treatment to medical staff.
Paramedics are called out to a wide variety of situations, such as traffic accidents, childbirth, falls and gunshot wounds. Some paramedics work in specific areas such as on cruise ships and offshore oil platforms.
Rita Kennedy is a writer and researcher based in the United Kingdom. She began writing in 2002 and her work has appeared in several academic journals including "Memory Studies," the "Journal of Historical Geography" and the "Local Historian." She holds a Ph.D. in history and an honours degree in geography from the University of Ulster.