As Registered EMT, Andrea D’Souza Spent the Summer Saving Lives

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While most students spent the summer traveling or hanging out with friends, senior Andrea D’Souza, spent her vacation riding in ambulances and helping people in emergency.

D’Souza became an official volunteer Emergency Medical Technician or an EMT on August 31. Volunteer EMT’s are the people ride in ambulances and go to the site of emergencies when 911 is called.

To become an official EMT, she had to pass a national exam and take classes for three months. These classes were almost two hours away from home and lasted eight hours everyday. Not only did she have to pass the class, she also had to pass 11 tests as well.

In the past two months, she’s seen things that not many other 17 year olds get to experience.

One time she was dispatched for an older man who was having seizures, and when they got to the scene, he was already in cardiac arrest. After following all procedures, he was still unresponsive, so they ended up doing CPR for 45 minutes, but he passed away. That was first time D’Souza saw someone die.

“It didn’t really register that I had just witnessed a guy die until we were comforting the family,” said D’Souza. “Although being around blood and death often seems scary, as an EMT, you can’t let that phase you because you constantly have to concentrate on the next step.”

Another time there was a suspicious package on Route 29 and police said it had explosive material in it. They called her station and bomb squad to the situation, and she watched them disassemble the explosive. D’Souza was there just in case any explosive material hurt anyone. “I was there for six hours until around 1:30AM,” said D’Souza.

D’Souza is busy at school, too. When she’s not playing flute for the band or spending three periods every day at the ARL studying Biotechnology, she’s spending 6-8 hours at the station three days a week.

D’Souza first realized that she wanted to be an EMT when she was in a car crash in India a few years ago and the emergency system never arrived. “It was really scary when we waited and waited for some help to arrive and they never did,” said D’Souza. “Luckily, we were all okay, but I never want anyone to go through that, so I became an EMT to help.”

To D’Souza, becoming an EMT has helped her learn crucial skills that will help her in the future.

“It’s a great way to get started with becoming a doctor because it has showed me how to deal with serious situations under a lot of pressure,” said D’Souza. “I have to make important life or death decisions by myself that really make a difference in peoples’ lives.”

Next year she’s hoping to go to University of Michigan to study nuerology and eventually go to med school there.

When she grows up she hopes to become a doctor without borders which are doctors that voluntarily travel to disaster zones and places of poverty to treat people who can’t afford or have access to medical treatment.

“I want to be a doctor because I like helping people when they’re in need and I like how people put their trust into doctors.” said D’Souza, “The patients are having the worst day of their life and they’re trusting you to help them get through their time of need.”

D’Souza is very hopeful for the future and “loves being an EMT.” In a few weeks she’s going to have a teen EMT in training come under her wing and show her what it takes to be a teen EMT.