Baton Rouge – Statistics indicate that access to quality emergency care can dramatically improve the recovery rate of those who experience a sudden illness or injury. This fact, along with reality that most communities in Louisiana lack access to emergency trauma care, is a driving force behind the state’s current effort to create a statewide trauma network.

According to Dr. Fred Cerise, secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals, emergency medical services provide lifesaving care, but not all communities are best equipped for such an emergency.

“The successful response to an emergency is a team effort that involves emergency room physicians, emergency nurses, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, firefighters, law enforcement and others,” he explained. “It has been for this reason that we support legislation to create a statewide system to coordinate trauma care and ensure that this lifesaving care is readily accessible to all citizens of our state.

Focusing attention on this legislation is a goal of the Department of Health and Hospitals, especially as national Emergency Medical Services Week is celebrated this week.

Throughout the week, emergency medical professionals will gather in Baton Rouge to participate in events that focus attention on lifesaving care. EMS Week is also a time when fire and EMS crews provide vital educational material and training to adults and children on topics such as injury prevention, recognizing an emergency, and what to do until help arrives.


The Department of Health and Hospitals’ Bureau of Emergency Medical Services oversees EMS throughout Louisiana. Nancy Bourgeois, director of the program says it is important to showcase the skills of EMS professionals.


“This time of the year is a great opportunity for us to educate a large number of citizens about injury prevention and safety awareness,” she said. “Serious injuries, automobile accidents, a sudden heart attack or an emergency birth are example of situations that require emergency response and transportation.”


Tomorrow, DHH’s Bureau of Emergency Medical Services will provide hospital personnel with continuing education about strokes and emergency care. In addition, an EMS for Children Day will be held at Alsen Head Start in Alsen from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. More than 1,200 children are expected to attend.


Citizens can receive a free blood pressure checkup Wednesday, May 19 at the EMS exhibit at the Capitol. An orientation for rural communities that are receiving automatic external defibrillators from the LDH Office of Public Health through a federal grant will take place Thursday. There also will be a memorial service Thursday evening at the Old State Capitol to honor the10 Louisiana EMTs who died this past year, three of whom died in the line of duty. The service will take place from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. A banquet will follow at 6:30 p.m.