Emergency responders: police, student EMTs rescue pedestrian

UIC student EMTs introduce the campus to its new ambulance. Photo: Oliver Boryszewski/UIC EMS

UIC student EMTs show EMS-1 at a campus event in the quad. UIC has the state’s only student-run ambulance crew. Photo: Oliver Boryszewski/UIC EMS


The quick actions of a UIC Police officer and the students of the UIC Emergency Medical Services ambulance may have saved the life of a pedestrian who was struck by a semi-truck at an intersection near campus.

UIC Police Officer Mike Mesce heard screams as he drove his patrol car near Roosevelt Road and Ashland Avenue about 7:30 p.m. Sept. 15. He saw a woman who had been dragged under the truck wheels as it turned the corner.

He immediately turned on his lights and siren, then stopped the truck. He freed the woman, who had severe lower-body injuries, and radioed for backup.

First on scene, several minutes before Chicago Fire Department paramedics arrived, was UIC EMS-1, a basic-life-support ambulance staffed by students who are state-licensed EMTs.

The crew — pre-med students Christopher Wolz, Christian Carrera and Jillian Sachen — applied a tourniquet to the leg of the 22-year-old victim, Mesce said, while he controlled the scene.

CFD paramedics arrived a few minutes later in an advanced-life-support ambulance to transport the patient to Stroger Hospital, where she was in critical condition.

How did three undergraduate students handle the life-threatening situation at the scene?

“I felt prepared,” said Sachen, a senior majoring in neuroscience. “We’ve all done this a lot in mock scenarios. Everyone knew what to do.”

Sachen is a teaching assistant in EMS 200, which prepares students for certification and licensure as EMTs. She has served on the state’s only student-run, licensed-to-transport ambulance crew for two years.

Carrera, a senior double-majoring in history and biology, said he was proud of the team’s response.

“Going in, I felt very confident with the people we had,” he said.

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