Words That Describe Us: Volume 74

Aetna Ambulance Service, Inc. - Ambulance Service of Manchester, LLC.MANCHESTER and HARTFORD — Aetna Ambulance and ASM send Patient and Customer Satisfaction Surveys to a random sampling of patients who have received emergency or STAT inter-facility services from our companies.

The final part of the survey asks that the respondent, “Please use a word or phrase to describe us and/or the ambulance crew.”

Some of the answers/responses included:

  • They were calm + professional which was greatly appreciated + were careful driving knowing I was following behind them (patient’s spouse).
  • Excellent.
  • Pleasant, professional, concerned + understanding. (15-96431; J. Rassmussen, J. Bak).
  • Very professional.
  • The ambulance crew were very kind people. (16-79; J. Pearson, K. Stewart).
  • Very interested in patient; lighthearted and comforting. I felt very safe with the paramedics, they were all so friendly and really calmed me down despite the situation. Great Job Everyone! J (16-369; M. Karr, B. Sullivan).
  • I think your [staff] was excellent.
  • Very professional and took good care of me. The ambulance crew had a calming effect on me which made me feel I was in the right place. (16-3446; M. Mosebach, J. Pearson).
  • The crew was very professional.
  • All were very thorough, nice and seemed to know exactly what they needed to do. All showed concern. Thank you! (16-2103; M. Carter, T. Webster).
  • Professional and compassionate.
  • They were wonderful.
  • Completely professional, care for my wife as well as me. Very happy with all of them. Wonderful people!
  • Very professional.
  • Professional! Competent! Outstanding! I would like to acknowledge the hard work that your team does and their ability to put people at ease in crisis and their superb care. Please thank them on my behalf. (16-1718; T. Oliver, K. King).
  • Pleased with the ambulance crew.
  • Kind and caring to everyone involved.
  • Professional.
  • Overall service was great. Team arrived in a timely manner.
  • Fabulous.
  • Calm, skilled & professional. Very impressed with the EMT’s skills and calm mannerisms. They explained every step, in such a professional way, helped me stay calm + focused as I was bleeding + traumatized. Thank you!! (16-4267; R. Davenport, M. Guertin with Manchester Fire Rescue EMS).

Worlds Apart: Part 2

Worlds Apart 2

Aetna on top of Mt. Pacaya!

by Aetna’s Tom Sopel

Read Part 1 here….

“So how long does it take for an ambulance to show up to these places if people need immediate attention” I asked Jorge and Dr. Vela. Hours. Not one or two, but possibly five or eight. An overburdened, underfunded EMS system meant for longer response times and some of these villages are so remote that they can only be accessed by vehicles in the dry season (summer months), otherwise the rivers grow too torrential to let cars pass. One clinic we ran was particularly deep into the jungle and hadn’t seen a clinic in over 25 years! That was the day a child saw my white, foreign face and ran away crying. It’s like he didn’t even care that I have an awesome personality…

Ok, so let’s say something happens and you can wait the few hours for an ambulance to get there. You were somehow able to stretch that golden hour of your stroke into a tarnished eight, then what? Hop in the back and start burning rubber, right? Wrong. The Guatemalan healthcare system won’t take you unless have all your paperwork signed and filled out for that particular trip, as payments need to be established BEFORE the trip, not after. That brings the interesting question: What if you’re unconscious? Well, you better hope that a loved one is around to do the paperwork for you then! Ok, stroke survived, paperwork filled out, hospital time! Wrong again.

As it turns out, treatment in Guatemala is based on a graded scale where treatment isn’t necessarily catered to acuity. You’re bumped up to progressively more and more developed health care facilities until you reach the one you need. Where first you’re dropped off at a clinic like the ones we ran or an average doctors office, and then they slowly pass you up the chain until you’re finally allowed to be transferred to a hospital. All they do in the meantime is stabilize the patient and pass them along – often a stark contrast to Hartford.

ASM at Manchester’s Early Childhood Fair, 2016

Early Childhood Fair 2016 DMANCHESTER — On February 20, 2016 ASM’s Cory LaChance and Ashley DeBisschop were on hand at Manchester Youth Service Bureau’s Early Childhood Fair held at Manchester High School.

ASM has attended the event for the last five years, presenting emergency medical services equipment, giving out EMS coloring books and interacting with parents and children.

Disaster Triage Online Game Needs EMS Study Participants

HARTFORD —  In a correspondence from Dr. James Parker of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center:

Calling all Paramedics, EMTs and EMS students!

60 Seconds to SurvivalLeaders of the Study are examining the utility of the video game as a learning tool for START/JumpSTART.

You are invited to participate in this fun research study based out of Yale University School of Medicine.


  • Access to an online GAME where you learn & practice MASS CASUALTY TRIAGE for PEDIATRIC and adult patients.
  • 3.25 hours of CME time.
  • $15 Amazon Gift card.


  • Agree to play the game once a week for 15 minutes (for 13 weeks).
  • Provide feedback on the game when prompted.


  • please email me at JFParke@ConnecticutChildrens.org
  • Please include what organization you’re from.
  • She will send you the link to the game and further details about CME.
  • Remember, you can withdraw at any point – (but won’t get the gift card).

Your reply implies verbal consent (information sheet at end of message).

Feel free to contact me with any questions!

Jim Parker, MD

EMS Liaison



Aetna and ASM are not affiliated with this study. 

Words That Describe Us: Volume 73

Aetna Ambulance Service, Inc. - Ambulance Service of Manchester, LLC.MANCHESTER and HARTFORD — Aetna Ambulance and ASM send Patient and Customer Satisfaction Surveys to a random sampling of patients who have received emergency or STAT inter-facility services from our companies.

The final part of the survey asks that the respondent, “Please use a word or phrase to describe us and/or the ambulance crew.”

Some of the answers/responses included:

  • Today I had a very positive and professional experience while escorting my grandfather in an ambulance to his doctor’s appointments. We were on ambulance to 211 with M and A. They provided a safe, friendly and appropriate way for my grandfather to go from his rehab center to his appointments. Thank you. (M. Flynn and A. Dias)
  • Professional with a great sense of humor. (15-87242; J. Bak, R. Fross).
  • Excellent.
  • Good.
  • Professional + very helpful.
  • Professional + caring.
  • Fantastic.
  • Great professionalism + personalities (bedside manner). (15-95046; R. McConville, T. Luetjen).
  • Professional and caring.
  • Professional.
  • From Step-1 to end everything excellent! (15-94284; A. Fine, B. Langan with East Hartford Fire Department).
  • Todd was a very compassionate and caring paramedic. (15-94627; C. Heitman, P. Yakushchenko with East Hartford Fire Department).
  • Very good job.
  • Caring.
  • The two gentlemen who provided the care, support and transportation to the hospital were professional and competent. I felt I was in good hands at all times. Excellent. (15-94980; M. Tuttle, J. Bak).
  • Very professional.
  • Awesome.
  • Professional and competent.
  • We are always grateful for the care & professionalism the crew shows. (15-95518; G. Derosier, A. Cichy).
  • Thank you for excellent care!
  • Calming. Excellent service start to finish! (15-77607; C. Willey, J. Pearson).
  • Very kind.
  • Excellent – Professional.
  • Professional x 3.
  • The team who care for me was reassuring and professional. (15-93456; M. Sparks, A. Debisschop with East Hartford Fire Department).
  • Very well organized.

Worlds Apart: Part 1

Dr. Rafael Vela and myself nearing the end of a successful week of clinics.

Dr. Rafael Vela and myself nearing the end of a successful week of clinics.

by Aetna’s Tom Sopel

La Antigua, Guatemala — Hello, my name is Tom Sopel and I’m an EMT here at Aetna. This past January I flew to Guatemala to work under the Medical Humanitarian Society of Uconn in order to provide patient care to rural areas of Guatemala. The culture was as vibrant as it was care free, the kind of atmosphere that lets you slow your clock down and loosen up your laces. I guess you can say that an important medical lesson I learned out there was that the human body naturally wants to smile when it’s never been exposed to (Hartford) winter. But seriously, the place was amazing. We spent two weeks in various villages across Guatemala running health care clinics, working with hundreds of patients to provide much needed medical treatment for those in need.

Out there we were met by our friend and translator, Jorge Hernandez who helped us with organizing patient care sites and Dr. Rafael Vela, who was an amazing doctor who would volunteer his time to go with us out to the different villages and coffee plantations spotted across the jungles of Guatemala. Continue reading

Potential Life Threatening Wind Chills & Near Record Cold Temps This Weekend

MaxWindGustMphOccasionally we will share severe weather information consequential to public health, public safety and EMS response.

An arctic air mass will overspread the region Saturday afternoon into Sunday with potential life threatening wind chills and near record cold temperatures. Now is the time to take action and review the preparedness tips below.

Timing: The core of the cold air arrives Saturday afternoon and settles over the region Saturday night into Sunday. Impacts … this is a potentially life threatening cold air mass for residents of MA, RI & CT Saturday afternoon into Sunday with wind chills 15 to 25 below zero and potentially 30 below zero across the interior. In addition, actual air temperatures will approach record low values Saturday night.

Hypothermia  FrostbiteMarine Impacts: Heavy Freezing Spray Saturday afternoon into Sunday may result in dangerous conditions for any vessel in the near shore waters of MA & RI. The threat of heavy freezing spray will lessen with increasing distance from the coastline as water temperatures are warmer offshore.

Potential Snowfall Friday Evening & Overnight: ahead of the Arctic front a brief period of moderate to heavy snow is possible across Cape Cod, Nantucket & Marthas Vineyard. Snow accumulations of 1-3″ are possible. Elsewhere, only a period of light snow or flurries are expected.

Meet the Newest Members of the Team: Aetna Hires Four – 2016

HARTFORD — On February 10, 2016 two EMTs and two Paramedics were added to the Aetna team. As part of our continued growth Aetna and ASM seek out only the best candidates. We look for employees who are focused on high-quality patient care, are team oriented and conduct themselves in a professional manner. During the orientation, employees learn about company philosophy and goals, quality assurance, and policies and procedures.

Brigid Cox:   FULL TIME, EMT.  My name is Brigid Cox, I am 22 years old, and I am from South Windsor. I graduated in May from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.  I earned my B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Anatomy and Physiology. I have always wanted to work in the medical field. Within the last couple of years I finally decided that I wanted to be a Physician’s Assistant.  I am interested in emergency medicine, making EMS a perfect way for me to work towards my career goals. I like spending my free time outdoors; hiking, camping, or swimming and I would really like to start rock climbing.  I also love traveling and trying new things, especially different foods. I am really excited to be starting my first job in the medical field and to finally be able to help out my community.

Kyle Durand:     FULL TIME, EMT. My name is Kyle Durand, I am 22 years old and I am from Bristol, CT. I graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2015 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Physiology & Neurobiology. After graduation I enrolled in an EMT program in South Windsor and obtained my license in October of 2015. I originally attended UConn with the goal of graduating with a Bachelors in Fine Arts in acting, as my career goal at the time was filmmaking. While filmmaking is still a very passionate hobby of mine, my interests shifted to the medical field my first semester after I attended a Neurobiology lecture. Since then I have been enamored with the medical field, having worked for the St. Francis Radiology Department, volunteering for Americorps in Willimantic, and helping research genomic markers for familial disorders and diseases. In my spare time I like to play football, rock climb, go hiking, learn a new language and travel as much as possible. I could not be happier to work for Aetna as an EMT and help make a difference in the community I live in. The experience I gain working for Aetna Ambulance will be an invaluable asset to my future career goals and myself. I’m very excited to be a part of the Aetna Ambulance team and all of the new opportunities that lie ahead.

Dan Hope:    FULL TIME, Paramedic. My name is Dan Hope and I am 28 years old. As a recent graduate of the Capital Community College Paramedic Program. I am excited to join the team of EMTs and Paramedics at Aetna Ambulance. As a resident of Monson, Massachusetts, I have worked full and part time as an EMT-Basic for both private ambulance and municipal Fire Department services. After working mostly service-based jobs since high school, I have discovered a true passion for EMS since 2013 and have dedicated much of my time to improving my skills and knowledge base as a field provider. In my spare time, I am an avid hiker and enjoy traveling. I look forward to beginning my career in paramedicine with Aetna Ambulance.   

Amanda Kneipfer:    FULL TIME, Paramedic. My name is Amanda Kneipfer and I am 23 years old, originally from Wallingford, CT. I graduated from Colby-Sawyer College in 2014 with a degree in Child Development and a minor in Psychology. While in college, I studied abroad for a semester in Madrid and travelled to four other countries during my time there. I love to travel and have been to nine different countries to date. I originally thought that I wanted to go to grad school to become a Social Worker, but quickly found a passion for EMS after taking my EMT course. I have been volunteering for Wethersfield Ambulance for a little over a year, and just completed the paramedic program through New Britain EMS Academy. I am very excited for the opportunity to be a part of the Aetna team and can’t wait to meet and work with everyone!

Kudos from the Cath Lab: Volume 17

Aetna Paramedic receives Kudos from the Cath LabROCKY HILL — During early February 2016, Aetna Paramedic Ryan Gonska and his partner Logan Royale responded to a medical call in Rocky Hill. The EKG was indicative of a STEMI and Ryan wirelessly transmitted the 12-lead EKG to Saint Francis Hospital, activating their cardiac catherization lab from the field. (#16-8644).

Rapid identification, treatment, and early notification (STEMI ALERT) is vital in the care of patients with cardiac emergencies such as ST Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction.  We hope the attached information is useful in the design and monitoring of your treatment strategies.     — Saint Francis Hospital staff

SFH Cath Lab Patient Follow-Up Form

Treatment by EMS and Direct to SFH ED

EMS Agency: Aetna Ambulance

Indication: STEMI

First Medical Contact (FMC) (at pt side)                             16:13    elapse: 00:00

EMS 12 Lead Acquisition Time:                                           16:17          elapse: 00:04

EMS STEMI Alert Request Time (source: cmed):                16:37          elapse: 00:20

EMS 12 Lead Transmit Rec’d Time (source: Lifenet):        16:19          elapse: 00:02

Arrival Time (SFHED):                                                          16:51          elapse: 00:14

Cath Lab Arrival Time (SFH):                                              17:13          elapse: 00:22

Procedure Start Time:                                                        17:28          elapse: 00:15

Vessel Angiography Findings / Treatment: 3V Dz; Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Consult.

Comments: Patient went MD office due to prolonged chest pain and shortness of breath; APRN performed EKG and administered Aspirin; No first medical contact time, so EMS times utilized- EMS dispatched 16:05 on scene 16:10. Transport 16:31. EMS performed 12-lead; STEMI Center activation at 16:37. Cath lab notified prior to arrival of patient. Patient required emergent coronary artery bypass graft instead of stents.

Meet the Newest Members of the Team: ASM Hires Six – 2016

MANCHESTER — On February 3, 2016 five EMTs and one Paramedic were added to the ASM team. As part of our continued growth Aetna and ASM seek out only the best candidates. We look for employees who are focused on high-quality patient care, are team oriented and conduct themselves in a professional manner. During the orientation, employees learn about company philosophy and goals, quality assurance, and policies and procedures.

Justin Craig:    FULL TIME EMT. My name is Justin and I am 24 years old. I graduated from Central Connecticut State University with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology.  Soon after graduating I started pursuing my EMT certification. I applied at ASM because I had my ride a long there and really enjoyed my experience. I was recently accepted as a Volunteer Fire Fighter in South Meriden and plan on getting my Firefighter-I certification in the near future. I am really big into the outdoors; love to go fishing and camping all around New England. I have two dogs Cody and Bear, which I go on hikes with. I am looking forward to starting my career at ASM and getting started in the EMS field.

Kaylyn Fuller:    FULL TIME, EMT. Hi, my name is Kaylyn Fuller.  I am 23 years old and live in South Windsor.  I graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University with a B.S. in Biology in May of 2015.   Eventually, I would like to go to school for Physician’s Assistant.  During my time shadowing doctors and PA’s in preparation for PA school, I was able to spend time in the Harlem, New York Emergency Department.  I fell in love with emergency medicine and decided that this was how I wanted to spend my time before PA school.  I felt that emergency medicine gave the most immediate gratification by giving the greatest help in the shortest amount of time.  For me, being an EMT is the best way to combine my love for medicine, science and being around people.  I have worked in the restaurant business since I was 16.  Most recently, I left to start EMT work from bartending and restaurant management.  Though I enjoyed being around people in food service, I really wanted to be in the medical field and be hands-on in pre-hospital care.  I am so excited to finally be in the field I love, practice emergency medicine and gain as much experience as possible.

Michael Karanda:   FULL TIME, EMT. My name is Michael Karanda. I am 25 years old originally from Glastonbury, CT. I graduated from Central Connecticut State University in 2013 with my bachelors degree in Criminology and a Minor in Psychology. I  first became an EMT in 2013 through Bristol Hospital. I recently attended Capital Community College to become a Paramedic. During my spare time I volunteer for the Glastonbury and Hebron Fire Departments. I also enjoy spending time with family and my three Bull Terriers. Emergency Medical Services is a field in which I truly enjoy. I am thankful for the opportunity and I look forward to working with ASM and with the communities in which they serve.

Elizabeth Miller:   FULL TIME, EMT. My name is Liz Miller and I am 22 years old. I recently graduated with a B.S. in Allied Health Sciences from University of Connecticut. For the past nine months I have been working as a private patient care assistant in Storrs. I am thrilled to become a part of ASM and to be working as a full-time EMT. During the summer I volunteer for a week at Camp Amerikids, recently renamed The Elm Project, which is a summer camp for children who are affected by HIV/AIDS or Sickle Cell Disease. In my free time I enjoy swimming, hiking, and surfing. I love traveling; I lived in Scotland for my Junior year in college which gave me the opportunity to visit a few different countries in Europe. I have a deep love for SmartWool socks and I also enjoy eating Nilla Wafers in my pajamas, building miniature snowmen when it only snows two inches, and dodging jellyfish when I go swimming in the ocean.

Meghan Pierce:   FULL TIME EMT.  Hi, my name is Meghan Pierce I’m 31 years old.  I’m a CT native currently residing in Coventry; however, I previously resided in Kentucky where I obtained my BS in Wildlife Management from Eastern Kentucky University. I went to SOLO Wilderness Medical School in New Hampshire and received a Wilderness EMT certification. I was able to obtain a job with North Conway Ambulance and have enjoyed working in the EMS field.  I also have a Firefighter-I certification and while I’ve enjoyed structural firefighting, my favorite is the Wildland  firefighting aspect.  In my free time, I enjoy being outdoors, hiking, kayaking, and fishing.  I’m looking forward to joining and contributing to the ASM Team.

David Thiery Jr:   FULL TIME, PARAMEDIC. Greetings! My name is David Thiery Jr and I am 26 years old. I hail from northwestern,CT and currently live in Waterbury,CT with my lovely fiancée. I just recently attended Yale New Haven Sponsor Hospital’s critical care transport program, and I have received the designation of FP-C (Flight paramedic certified) from the Board of Critical Care Transport Paramedic certification. I graduated from Bridgeport Hospital Emergency Medical Institute’s Paramedic program in 2014. My goal is to further my career in critical care medicine, I will be pursuing my RN to obtain my flight nurse, and I have been considering a masters degree in cardiovascular perfusion. In my spare time, I volunteer with New Hartford Ambulance and I am a per diem Paramedic with Stamford EMS. I also enjoy being an amateur musician. I am very excited to be joining the ASM team and look forward to working for a progressive company.

Praise for Aetna’s Eric Thepsiri and Donna Achilli

In an email from late January 2016:

Eric Thepsiri

Eric Thepsiri

“Just before we got onto the highway, mom was in such distress that we decided to pull over and call 911 so that an ambulance could transfer her and treat her along the way. A few minutes later, mom was in the ambulance, shaking from extreme chills, extreme lower back/hip and leg pain, and nausea.

Donna Achilli

Donna Achilli

The terrific professional ambulance paramedic named Eric and his associate EMT Donna, (who drove the ambulance) reassured mom, while Eric checked her vitals (including blood pressure which was good) and gave her a dose of Fentanyl (a fast-acting pain killer) that immediately brought her some relief.  He also wrapped her in blankets which helped her to warm up quickly. Meanwhile, I rode in the back of the ambulance with mom and shared info on her meds and background on the infusion treatment with Eric.

The ambulance crew was so professional and amazing — both in their treatment of mom and their compassion and emotional support for all of us. Please thank the crew for us.”

Note: Run #16-6852, certain information redacted for privacy.