Student EMS team takes third place in nationwide competition

The WCU EMS team of (left to right) Malcolm Leirmoe, Branan Roughgarden, Joey Wagoner and Trevor Key are pictured with the third-place trophy they won during the basic life support competition at the recent conference of the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation.

The WCU EMS team of (left to right) Malcolm Leirmoe, Branan Roughgarden, Joey Wagoner and Trevor Key are pictured with the third-place trophy they won during the basic life support competition at the recent conference of the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation.

A team of four Western Carolina University students recently recorded a third-place finish in a competition that tested the skills of emergency medical service providers from college campuses across the United States and Canada.

WCU emergency medical technicians Trevor Key of Lenoir, Malcolm Leirmoe of Charlotte, Branan Roughgarden of Greensboro and Joey Wagoner of King competed against 23 other campus EMS teams at the 14th annual conference of the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation, held Feb. 23-25 in Baltimore. The teams were composed almost entirely of student EMTs, Key said.

The WCU students finished third behind the University of Windsor and Penn State University in the basic life support competition, which tested each team’s clinical, leadership and creativity skills in scenarios that replicated medical, trauma and rescue situations with an emphasis on the college environment.

WCU’s EMS squad, a student-run organization, is affiliated with and supported by EMS of WestCare Health System. The WCU crew provides basic life support-level care and transport for the students, faculty, staff and visitors at WCU 24 hours a day when school is in session.

The WCU squad includes eight full-time and 15 part-time student EMTs. University Health Services Director Michael Jorge, who oversees EMS operations on campus, said the entire squad is a point of pride for WCU’s Division of Student Affairs.

“These young men perform invaluable work and service for our WCU community while balancing their roles as students, EMS officers and medics, and also as part-time medics in their communities during the weekends,” Jorge said of the team that competed in Baltimore. “I’ve also been pleased to see their collaborative work and relationships with the EMS crew from WestCare.”

WCU’s bachelor of science degree program in emergency medical care was the first such program in the nation, and is still one of just 14 such programs nationwide, but students do not have to be emergency medical care majors to join the campus EMS squad.

Michael Hubble, director of the emergency medical care program, said WCU is one of just a few North Carolina colleges with a campus EMS team. “This national recognition should remind us just how fortunate we are to have students so devoted to the well-being of others,” Hubble said.

Key, Leirmoe and Roughgarden are the chief, sergeant, and assistant chief for the WCU EMS squad, respectively, and are all emergency medical care majors. Wagoner, the squad’s captain, is majoring in criminal justice.

The Baltimore conference offered more than 40 lectures over two days on topics ranging from the treatment and management of various traumatic and medical emergencies to ambulance safety and leadership. A keynote speaker addressed the topic “Trauma Care in Iraq.” Eighty-six schools were represented at the conference by 630 campus EMS representatives.

For more information about WCU’s EMS squad, contact Key at (828) 227-6324.