Duke Emergency Medical Services has been resuscitated after a two-semester break.

Student-run Duke EMS will partner with Duke LifeFlight—an emergency transport service based at Duke Hospital—to provide event medical services at basketball and football games next semester, said junior Spencer Flynn, director of Duke EMS. 

When the service was shut down last September with Durham County EMS taking over full-time, Duke EMS reached out to the Duke Hospital administration. After several meetings and negotiations, they are now finalizing the details of the merger, Flynn said.

“Duke EMS has been in continuous service for about 24 years since 1995, so it was very difficult for all of us to hear that we were at least going to be temporarily out of service, losing the medical oversight of Durham County [Emergency Medical Services],” Flynn said. “We are a very proud organization—both of the educational experience we offer to our members and also [of] the value we provide to the Duke community through our medical skills.”

Up until last fall, Duke EMS operated under Durham County EMS. But Durham County had unreasonable expectations for Duke’s student volunteers, wrote John Dailey—chief of the Duke University Police Department—in an email to The Chronicle in Sept. 2017.

“[Durham County wanted] Duke EMS to operate 24/7/365 and meet local educational requirements, both of which are very challenging with the academic workload of our student volunteers,” he wrote. 

Flynn noted that the main benefit of the new merger will be a “more direct connection to Duke.” Duke LifeFlight will be able to provide students with "more direct medical oversight...and mentorship” than Durham County EMS, he said. 

In addition, Duke Hospital Emergency Department will also support students’ continued education in emergency medicine.

Although Flynn said he was excited for the new partnership, he expressed disappointment that Duke EMS will no longer operate as a 911 response agency. He added that Duke EMS hopes to expand its services beyond event medicine as they explore the new partnership.

“We are very excited to be able to work with Duke LifeFlight and to begin practicing our skills, especially after a two-semester-long break,” Flynn said.