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Duke EMS Alumni Requesting Our Organization's Reinstatement

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To the Duke University Administrators, DUPD, DCEMS, Duke Life Flight, and all other stakeholders:

We are the alumni of Duke EMS, an organization that has been selflessly serving Duke’s campus since 1994. Duke EMS was taken out of service by Durham County EMS on August 30th, 2017. We strongly oppose this decision, and have organized this petition to urge the reinstatement of Duke EMS as an emergency medical response agency. We want to explain the benefits Duke EMS provides the Duke community and its student membership. We are also deeply concerned that the necessary steps have not yet been taken by the Duke administration to place our organization back into service.

It is important to stress that Duke EMS’s removal from operation was not due to the quality of service its members provide, but rather due to new requirements enforced by the Durham County EMS system. A requirement such as 24/7/365 operation makes sense for a county EMS agency, but the absence of Duke EMS during winter and summer breaks does not negatively impact patient care, as the campus population drops significantly during these periods. In fact, most collegiate EMS agencies nationwide do not provide 365 service, and some are able to exist without even being 24/7. Given this new requirement, Duke EMS is no longer compatible with county oversight and needs the support of Duke administration in transitioning to new means of oversight.

As alumni who served with Duke EMS since 1994, we are united in our strong opposition to the decision to take Duke EMS out of service. We are requesting that the university and other key stakeholders increase their cumulative efforts to reinstate our service. Not only is this situation robbing our members of relevant career experience, but it is doing the students, faculty, and staff within the Duke community a life-threatening disservice by denying the best possible emergency care that the university has to offer.

Duke EMS often arrives on scene well before Durham EMS and other providers due to its strategic location in the center of campus and detailed knowledge of campus locations. Those 5-10 extra minutes can have huge impacts on patient outcomes, as was the case when professor George Grody went into cardiac arrest just two years ago. Those extra minutes with reassuring, professional care are also immensely important for the emotional well-being of patients and bystanders in what is often the most frightening experience of their lives. That quick response to yourself, a friend, or a loved one would not be possible without Duke EMS’ strong presence on campus.

Duke EMS provides incredible experience that prepares members for their future lives and careers. We, the alumni of Duke EMS, are testaments to this fact. The lessons learned from being invited into the lives of patients for a brief moment in their times of greatest need were vital to our success in our future professions.

Duke EMS has prided itself on providing the highest quality of first-response emergency medical care for over 23 years. To deprive the Duke community, and future generations of Duke EMS members, of this service is intolerable. It is in no one’s best interest. We believe it is our duty as the alumni of Duke EMS to explain these facts and to maintain administrative focus on the reinstatement of the organization. We urge Duke administrators reading this petition to support, reach out to, and collaborate with current Duke EMS leadership. We request prompt, decisive action by Duke administration and Duke community stakeholders to bring about the resumption of Duke EMS’s service as a 911 emergency response organization.


The Concerned Alumni of Duke EMS

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