Madison County Ambulance District’s Chief Medical Officer Darick Day has been nominated to receive national recognition for his contributions to the ambulance service’s operations. Day is nominated in the Stars of Life Program through the American Ambulance Association, and will travel to Washington, D.C. in June alongside Madison County Ambulance District Director Robbie Buesking.
As Chief Medical Officer, Day is responsible for overseeing the ambulance district’s medical program. He writes the treatment protocol, decides what medications will be carried and what equipment will be employed. He also reviews the documentation following each ambulance call to ensure compliance manages maintenance for the district’s vehicles. He works under the district’s Medical Director, Dr. Shayne Keddy, D.O. as well as Buesking.
Day has been with the Madison County Ambulance District since 2013, and in that time has assisted in making the ambulance district one of the more cutting-edge ambulance services in Missouri, starting with the certifications held by Madison County EMTs.
“When I started here, we had two trucks,” Day said. “We had one paramedic on the truck with an EMT partner and then the other truck was just two EMTs. So we kind of started with a very basic medical program. And we’ve come now to where we have critical care paramedics, which are even higher than the standard paramedic.”
Day said the lowest level of certification ambulance personnel can hold is referred to as EMT-Basic, which allows the EMT to only perform basic stabilization before arriving at a hospital. Day and Justin Duncan of the Washington County Ambulance District have been providing regional training for area first responders to receive higher certifications, allowing them to provide better care for patients in transit to the hospital.
“We teach a critical-care paramedic program,” Day said. “That’s basically for any flight paramedic, any critical-care transport unit, they have to have this certification. So it’s an extra certification above a standard paramedic certification. Our next step, and the board just approved this a couple months ago—we’re going to start paying for each of our employees to go through and receive that training. So ideally in the next couple of years, every paramedic we have will be a critical-care paramedic, which is the highest certification they can attain in the field.”
In addition to higher levels of training for personnel, Day has also made it a priority to employ new technology and equipment in the ambulance, some of which is rare in Missouri.
“We carry ICU-level ventilators, and we’re one of the first districts in the state to do non-invasive ventilation therapy in the field, which is a huge paradigm shift in pre-hospital treatment for respiratory distress patients,” Day said. “We’ve always missed that element of treatment, so it’s always been very difficult for us to manage them pre-hospital to hospital because that’s the definitive treatment they need. And technology has finally caught up with us.”
Day said the changes to the district are just the first in a series of improvements he would like to see.
“It’s all part of a tiered system that I set up,” Day said. And over the next couple years, there’s a few other things that I’d like to be one of the first in the state to do. Like pre-hospital ultrasound, early administration of antibiotics, sepsis screening, lactic acid monitoring. Stuff like that, it’s all cutting-edge medicine. And for a town that doesn’t have a 24-hour Wal-Mart, I feel like we’re doing pretty good.”
Robbie Buesking, the ambulance district’s director, said the award is meant to shine a light on the members of ambulance services that do a particularly outstanding job.
“The award is designed to recognize people inside your service who go above and beyond the call of duty in their job description,” Buesking said. “Darick’s a real asset here, and it was actually suggested to me by the administrator at St. Francois County (Ambulance District), David Tetrault that we nominate him.”
Day and Buesking were also awarded a scholarship to attend the award ceremony in Washington D.C., completely paying the way for the two to make the trip at no cost to themselves or taxpayers.
Buesking said that all of Day’s efforts to improve the district and the region have made him an indispensable part of the team and a worthy recipient of the Stars of Life honor.
“We’re very excited here that he was accepted and he did receive the award and it’s nice to recognize him for the asset he’s been to the district for the last couple years,” Buesking said. “I’m looking forward to going out to D.C. with him and watching him accept this award.”