ROCHESTER, Minn. - A year ago, Mayo Clinic introduced a new program that allows physicians to respond to ambulance calls. KIMT News 3 spoke with a doctor who said he's learning more from the paramedics than he ever imagined.
Physicians can decide when to respond to higher priority calls with paramedics. "It's another way to give back to the community. It's another way to protect the community," explained Dr. Matthew Sztajnkrycer. He is a physician at Saint Marys who is part of the program, along with five others. He said it's a team effort between the two - the physicians learn first hand what the paramedics need and the paramedics can have one on one education.
Dr. Sztajnkrycer explained when he's in the field, his main role is to be their support system. "It is very unusual for the physicians to provide a higher level of care than is already available on scene by Mayo Clinic Ambulance and the first responders," he said. "They are fully equipped, they are fully trained, they are phenomenal individuals." He said while the physicians do have the ability to perform surgery out in the streets, that situation is a once in a lifetime event.
Dr. Sztajnkrycer said this is one of the most hands on learning experiences he's been able to offer in his 25 years in the medical field. "Really what it offers the responders is the ability to interact face to face with the physicians that are their medical oversight. To be able to ask them questions," he explained.
The physician response vehicle is equipped with everything found in an ambulance. The only difference is the physicians have a portable ultra sound device.